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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 3718..


MR SESELJA (continuing):

On WIN news, he said, "We did not know there was going to be this much traffic. That is why we did not duplicate it,"when his own figures show he did know there was going to be this much traffic. In fact, they thought there was going to be more traffic than there is even now. Mr Hargreaves was seeking to distort the truth on WIN news; there is no doubt about it. His answer today was a pathetic attempt to rewrite history.

The fact is that this government knew, as did everyone, through its own projected figures, that this road was going to need duplicating straight away, and it waited until the eve of an election to do it. Now we are seeing the results of that negligence; we are seeing the results as we see the delays start again on Gungahlin Drive. We see the extra costs that go with it and the extra years of delay.

Mr Hargreaves summed it up well today, did he not, when he said, "I am going to get re-elected and we are going to do it in the next few years, the same way we have done in the last few years."That is a promise you can bank on. If John Hargreaves is minister again after the election, this will be slow and it will be handled in an incompetent manner in the way that it has been done in the last few years.

Legal Affairs—Standing Committee report

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (11.39): I stand to talk quickly about the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs report into the ACT fire and emergency services arrangements and to express my deep dissatisfaction with that report. After that I want to talk about the government's attitude to the tabling of that report.

Let me start by saying this: we have not had time of course to scrutinise this report properly yet. But a quick glance at the 22 recommendations would indicate that only six of those recommendations go to the heart of addressing something like 14 serious issues raised by a very significant body of witnesses who presented quite detailed evidence to the inquiry. So it is very clear to me that a lot of very, very important evidence presented by a broad cross-section of very experienced people, including an ex-commissioner, two ex-chief officers, a group of captains—in fact, the captains group of five—and a range of people was ignored by that inquiry.

I am quite critical of that inquiry and the way it was conducted. I will pick on one example right now. There is not a single indication in the list of recommendations about the morale issues which have clearly bedevilled the emergency services in the last 12 months. If I can go to one of the many references in the Hansard report of the evidence presented to that committee of inquiry. I want to quote from Mr Val Jeffery in response to an answer about morale:

I would term morale as being at the lowest point that I have ever seen it in my history of bushfires. It was certainly low after the 2003 fires, but there was a feeling amongst the firefighters on the ground that they had done the best they could, they had made an effort, and they had tried. A lot of people achieved a lot in those firefighting days. But from then on we have been doing nothing else but fighting battles and what you might call stabs in the back from left, right and centre, and getting nowhere.


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