Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 9 Hansard (12 August) . .
budget allocation to base funding has put the ESA in a good financial position. Mr Lane is clearly committed to this agenda and is putting a great deal of work into its progress.
I am aware as well, of course, that there are various issues of disagreement within the emergency services—disagreements about the approach to certain incidents, for example. The issue of the deployment of a Bronto during the Sydney Building fire is one example that Mr Smyth has raised. These incidents, as well as relationships within the agencies, seem to muddy and complicate the approach to reforming and restructuring these agencies to get the best outcomes.
I said to Mr Smyth last time this was debated that I would be happy to look at the creation of new strategic and accountability indicators to ensure that the government is on track annually to achieving the best emergency responses possible and that the Assembly has clear parameters by which they can make those judgements—for the non-executive members of the place. Again there has been no further discussion on those matters. So I think there are matters that we could canvass in this space. I am not convinced a full restructure to an independent statutory authority is the answer.
I was interested in the excerpts from Mr Smyth's comments on ABC radio this morning. I am the first one to acknowledge that an excerpt does not always give the full context regarding what is meant, so I will give that caveat. Mr Smyth made references to issues of misogyny, bullying and other issues in the Emergency Services Agency, and they have been well ventilated in this place and in the media.
What I would say, assuming that it was not taken out of context, is that if those problems exist, I do not believe that goes necessarily to the structure of the organisation. If those issues are persisting in the Emergency Services Agency—and I hope that, given the ventilation they have had, they are being well and truly tackled—they are management issues, they are cultural issues and they are ones that need to be tackled head-on. I am not convinced a restructure will go to the root of those sorts of problems. If that was the suggestion this morning, I am not convinced that is the right way to tackle those sorts of issues. They are best tackled, I believe, in other ways.
I will not be supporting the motion today and I will, amongst the alternatives, support the amendment moved by Ms Burch. I particularly welcome the undertaking in paragraph (2) to provide regular updates to the Assembly on the implementation of the strategic reform agenda because I know it would be of interest to many members of the Assembly as well as to many members of the community, given the history of incidents in the ACT. I think that level of updating and transparency is welcome.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.53): It is interesting that the union wrote a letter to Minister Burch and, from what she said, it would appear that she did not respond. She let the commissioner respond. I find it passing strange that a minister gets a letter written to her but she does not have the simple courtesy to write back and address the issues in that letter.
She started her speech on the motion as she always does—she denigrates, dismisses and goes on the attack. You know when they start with a slur it is because they really
Next page . .
Previous page. . . .
Speeches . . . .
Contents . . . .
Sittings . . . .