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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 8 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 2420..

DR FOSKEY: Will the minister commit to making the background information publicly available now and to releasing the review for consultation prior to the adoption of the 2008-11 action plan?

MR HARGREAVES: If I can go back to the previous question, I think what I would do, instead of going through that process, is arrange for a letter to go to all members regarding the terms of reference for that review. That will be, I think, a quicker process. I am happy to do that. With respect to Dr Foskey's supplementary, I will give it the fullest consideration.

Emergency services—FireLink

MRS BURKE: My question is directed to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. The Auditor-General's report on FireLink states that you received a briefing following a failed operational trial in September 2006 containing these words:

... there is no doubt that the failure of the trial has had some impact on the many members of staff and volunteers who were involved in the trial ... it is better to proceed with further trials of the system and thus gain operator confidence in its use.

Despite this advice, no further trials of FireLink were ever held. However, you advised the Assembly on 12 December 2006:

FireLink does work. It is operational currently in RFS and SES. It does work and it is an excellent piece of technology.

Minister, why did you advise the Assembly that FireLink does work in December 2006 when you had received a briefing that it had failed a trial and operators lacked confidence in it?

MR CORBELL: That brief did not advise me that FireLink did not work; it indicated that there were circumstances around the operation of that trial which had proved problematic. In particular, if I recall that brief correctly—I will perhaps need to check my records on this; it is some time since I read the documentation—the reason for that failure was attributed not to the technology itself but to infrastructure capacity within ESA headquarters at Curtin to manage the volume of traffic that was occurring with the trial.

It is wrong, I think, to assert that that briefing advice was that the technology was not working. In fact, that brief identified that the main cause of the problem with the failure of that trial was with ESA-related technology, not the ATI technology.

MRS BURKE: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. I thank the minister for the response. He may have answered this; I want it to be clear. Why did you then continue to defend FireLink in the Assembly after you received advice from the department of serious concerns over its performance?

MR CORBELL: I think I have just answered that question.

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