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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 8 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 2328..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

flawed because they do not propose an appropriate mechanism for governance and oversight that will prevent a recurrence of these issues.

If they get their way, what will we see in ESA? We will see budget blowouts. We will see poor budget management. We will see a failure to appropriately run our emergency services so that money is spent on the frontline, not on wasteful administration, which results in budget blowouts and poor project management. We want to see these dollars spent on the frontline. We want them spent in supporting our firefighters, supporting our SES volunteers, supporting our ambulance officers to deliver a safer community.

As a result of the reforms the government has put in place, as a result of being able to agree to every one of the Auditor-General's recommendations, we can quite clearly say, "We will make sure those dollars are spent where they are needed, not wasted in the sorts of legacies which the Auditor-General identifies."

Emergency services—FireLink

MR PRATT: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Minister, on 12 December 2006, you advised the Assembly in response to a question from me:

FireLink does work. It is operational currently in RFS and SES. It does work and it is an excellent piece of technology. It provides our emergency services with the ability to locate vehicles in the field, to know where their resources are and to be able to deploy them effectively and most efficiently.

In the same month, JACS commissioned two expert, independent reviews of emergency services ICT projects, including FireLink, given concerns raised about the performance of these projects by a wide range of authors in the field—permanent—and in this place. Why, in December 2006, did you assure the Assembly that FireLink does work when your department had considerable concerns about its performance, leading to the commissioning of two expert and independent reviews of emergency services ICT in the same month?

MR CORBELL: The very reason those reviews were commissioned was as a result of a decision taken by this government to bring the ESA back within the community safety portfolio. The decision was taken that, given the magnitude of all those projects and the dollar value attached to them, it was appropriate to undertake a review to see how well they were being managed. The problems were not being identified at that stage but they were identified subsequent to that month and, as a result of that, the government started to take steps to address the issues that were identified.

The commissioner has made very clear in previous comments, publicly and elsewhere, that the reporting by the ESA to me and my predecessors about this project was hopeful and, he believes, not accurate, given the understanding that was occurring within the ESA at that time. He has indicated that. The whole reason that those reviews were commissioned was to ensure that these projects were performing according to their specifications. Those reviews found that, in relation to FireLink, they were not. As a result of that, we took steps to fix it. So I see no contradiction between the decision to commence those reviews and my comments in December.

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