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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 3 Hansard (13 March) . . Page.. 446..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

That was the scenario four years ago; it was the scenario four to five weeks ago; it is the scenario today, in the range of certain potentialities. If a fire ever burns to the west of the ACT, the suburbs most at risk are the western suburbs. And what are the western suburbs? The western suburbs were then and the western suburbs are now Dunlop and Weston Creek.

That was the nature of the briefing that the cabinet received on the 16th accompanied by a firm view, which was reinforced last night on Four Corners by Wayne West when he said that up until the 17th he still believed—in other words, until the day after the cabinet briefing Wayne West was still saying and was still of the belief—that this fire did not represent a major threat. That was what he said to Four Corners last night. That is what cabinet was advised on the 16th—24 hours before that.

Mrs Burke: But you knew different.

MR STANHOPE: I knew different than Wayne West? Wayne West did not think the fire represented a major threat on the 17th. His advice was—

Mrs Burke: You knew the fires were more serious.

MR STANHOPE: I know nothing about fires Mrs Burke—absolutely nothing about fires and their behaviour. That is why I rely on experts. I know nothing about how to fight a fire. But of course it is not convenient to now give credence to the Four Corners show of last night by the Liberal Party here. They would not have liked Four Corners last night. Four Corners last night shattered the fragile case which the Liberal Party have sought to create and manufacture in this place, and which they are pursuing here today.

It is a fact and it is consistent with the sworn evidence of everybody that gave evidence in relation to the cabinet meeting of the 16th that the cabinet was not provided with advice or evidence which created any significant degree of alarm. That is evidenced by the fact that two of those members of that cabinet proceeded to leave after the cabinet meeting.

Aged care accommodation

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, can you inform the Assembly how the recent gift of a $1.8 million block of land to an aged care provider fits in with the ACT government's strategy to increase the number of aged care beds for older Canberrans?

MR STANHOPE: This was a significant initiative by the government in relation to its commitment to aged care. A direct grant of land at Griffith valued at $1.8 million to Baptist Community Services is a crucial element in our strategy to ensure that, as our community ages, the structural changes that must accompany that ageing keep pace.

Communities right around Australia, but most specifically here in Canberra, are ageing, and in Canberra ageing faster than most. At the beginning of this decade, for

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