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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 11 Hansard (23 September) . .

Page.. 3414..

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Fitzharris for the question. I will be pleased to talk about the national disaster rescue challenge. On the fourth of this month I had the pleasure of officially launching the national disaster rescue challenge. The challenge ran over two days—Saturday, 5 September and Sunday, 6 September—at various locations here in the national capital.

Opposition members interjecting—

MS BURCH: Those opposite seem to make fun of the SES crew that stood up and represented the ACT. As we welcomed SES teams from across the country—

Opposition members interjecting—

MS BURCH: This is a very important part of what they do, but, no, those over there seem again to want to smirk and carry on, all to seem to upset me. They cannot upset me, Madam Speaker; I will continue to support the SES. I would never be in this place and use an opportunity like they have to snigger and put disregard on the SES.

The challenge is a premier competition for state and territory emergency services. It is an opportunity for volunteers and employees of the SES to get together, to share some healthy competition and camaraderie, and to celebrate and be celebrated for the skills they have attained and the work that they do.

Every two years, volunteer units from around Australia come together in the spirit of friendly and robust competition, with a unique opportunity to display their skills. This year's theme was "Interstate deployment—response to severe storm damage". The objectives of the challenge involved fostering excellence and innovation in storm damage response; leadership, coordination and teamwork to provide a forum for learning through the exchange of techniques and ideas; and promoting the skills in the public training safety package—all while promoting a spirit of cooperation and friendly competition among volunteers. The event involves teams completing challenging rescue scenarios. They are judged on many of the aspects of their rescue and technical skills as well as first aid, navigation, teamwork and leadership.

This year there were 49 competitors from the ACT, New South Wales, the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria, supported by seven team managers. This year's challenge would not have been possible without the approximately 125 ACT SES and other volunteers who made the 2015 challenge the success it was.

This year, the ACT SES teams from the Majura and Gungahlin units were thrilled to take out third place in the competition. All participants, event officials, management teams and supporters should be rightly proud of their contributions to such a national event.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Fitzharris.

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