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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 13 Hansard (4 December) . . Page.. 3863..


MR STANHOPE: As required by the Financial Management Act 1996, I table an instrument issued under section 16 of the act. The direction and associated statement of reasons for the instrument must be tabled in the Assembly within three sitting days after it is given. This transfer of appropriation under section 16 of the act reflects a government decision to transfer responsibility for the closed circuit television project from the Department of Territory and Municipal Services to the Department of Justice and Community Safety. The detail of the instrument can be found within the tabled package. I commend the paper to the Assembly.

Paper

Ms Gallagher presented the following paper:

Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Act, pursuant to section 13—Annual Report 2006-2007—ACT Health—Corrigenda, dated November 2007.

Emergency services—effectiveness

Discussion of matter of public importance

MADAM TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne) (3.26): Mr Speaker has received letters from Mrs Burke, Mrs Dunne, Dr Foskey, Mr Gentleman, Ms MacDonald, Mr Mulcahy, Mr Pratt, Mr Seselja, Mr Smyth and Mr Stefaniak proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, Mr Speaker has determined that the matter proposed by Mr Mulcahy be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The effectiveness of our emergency services.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (3.27): I am pleased today to have the opportunity to discuss this matter of public importance. Events of recent years, most recently and vividly in 2003, have shown just how important an effective emergency services organisation is to this town. I will say at the outset that I have got considerable respect for the front-line men and women of our emergency services. Theirs is a difficult and dangerous job and one that they execute with courage and for the benefit of others. It is important that we have this debate today because there is considerable evidence that under the government's watch the ESA is not performing as effectively it should.

It is the nature of emergency services that their effectiveness is only really tested when there is a real-life emergency, from common emergencies like house fires, car accidents and so on, to more serious incidents, in terms of impact and breadth, like bushfires, severe floods and potential terror threats. A lot of good work is done by our firefighters, ambulance drivers, paramedics and others. They respond well and effectively to incidents that occur each and every day and deserve our congratulations.

It is logical, however, that our emergency services be geared beyond isolated, everyday-type emergencies and that the capability of our emergency services organisation should be configured towards dealing with the most serious and major incidents. The ACT needs an emergency services organisation that is capable of


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