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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 9 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 3794..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

I would like to thank the work of our police and emergency services. Very extensive planning has gone into putting together this exercise today, including officers from my department, through the security and emergency management branch, as well as Chief Minister's Department, ACT Policing and all of the agencies of the ACT emergency services. This is an important exercise and one that I trust will be accommodated by members in this place and, indeed, by the broader public for the sake of improved emergency preparedness in the Territory.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves, a supplementary question?

MR HARGREAVES: Thanks very much, Mr Speaker. My supplementary is to the minister. How will the people of the ACT benefit from this exercise in terms of local safety and security for possible future incidents?

MR CORBELL: As I have highlighted, obviously the operational deployment of a large number of police, fire, ambulance and other emergency services personnel pays real dividends in terms of their preparedness to work together in times of a real emergency. Police forward command posts will be established. Fire and emergency services will work closely with police in dealing with these types of emergencies. And in the context of this particular exercise, the engagement of the Australian Defence Force is also going to occur, which will allow state and territory officers and authorities to work with the commonwealth in what is a complex and testing emergency scenario.

This has benefits whether it is a bushfire, a flood or another emergency. It allows our emergency services to work together and to test our channels of communication with the commonwealth. Indeed, when it comes to a large-scale emergency, the assistance of the commonwealth and other jurisdictions will be necessary and it is appropriate that we engage and test lines of communication with them as part of the exercise process.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Porter, a supplementary?

MS PORTER: How well placed are emergency services in the ACT to deal with a major emergency like the one that is being tested today as part of Mercury 10?

MR CORBELL: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and I thank Ms Porter for the question. Again, this is not the first time that an exercise of this nature has been undertaken in the territory. One occurred about two or so years ago, if I recall correctly, and again police, fire brigade and other emergency services were deployed as part of that exercise. So it is an important testing and refreshing of these skills, and it is appropriate that we continue to do that, and that is why the territory is pleased to be involved through the NCTC and the funding provided by the commonwealth to test our capabilities and to make sure they remain up to date.

MR HANSON: A supplementary, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hanson.


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