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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 2 Hansard (8 March) . . Page.. 415..


MR MULCAHY (continuing):

visit was prompted by representations that I imagine were made to all members of the Assembly.

The society's second function is to operate a shelter for lost, abandoned, unwanted and ill-treated animals. During the 2004-05 financial year alone, the shelter provided refuge for 1,660 dogs and puppies, and 2,223 cats and kittens. The shelter aims to reunite lost pets with their owners and to allow people to adopt new pets. Its third function is to raise community awareness of animal welfare issues through an education program, and the centre employs an education officer who visits schools and community groups and conducts tours of the animal shelter.

The society's fourth and final function is to raise funds to support its work. RSPCA ACT is a community-based not-for-profit association that relies on public donations, membership subscriptions and fundraising events to continue to care for the animals and to serve the public. I would like to acknowledge and congratulate Michael Linke and his team at the RSPCA for their continued efforts and hard work to ensure the respect of animal welfare in the local ACT community.

Their important work and continued dedication should not go unnoticed. I was moved by the professionalism of the organisation when I visited its headquarters and inspected their facilities. I was impressed by the overall approach and attitude of their director, so I am keen to put that observation on the record, which I imagine is shared by members on both sides of the Assembly.

Emergency services—restructure

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Planning) (5.22), in reply: Mr Speaker, I want to take the opportunity to reflect a little on the debate about the governance of emergency services. The first thing I want to comment on is the prospect advanced by some in this place and some outside of this place that matters of governance when it comes to the emergency services relate directly to how we tackle emergencies and in particular, in the context of the current debate, how we tackle bushfires in the ACT.

It always strikes me as very curious that debates about governance seem to be the be-all and end-all of whether or not we have an effective emergency services agency with the capacity to protect our community in a time of emergency or other threat. I do not accept the argument that the governance arrangements are the be-all and end-all of the capability and the capacity of an emergency services organisation to respond to an emergency. Indeed, what we are discussing and have been debating in the Assembly today and in the broader community over the last couple of years has been, in many respects, what is not the main game.

The main game should not be the administration of the ESA in terms of how it is structured. The main game should be: do we have enough resources in the right places to tackle the threats that our community face, do we have the appropriate level of resources, are they being tasked in the most appropriate way, and are they being managed well? That seems to me to be the main game, rather than: is it an authority or is it an agency; does it have a commissioner who meets with the minister alone, or does it have a commissioner who meets with other public servants? This seems to me


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