Page 1909 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 27 June 2023

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I am aware that some motorists speed on many ACT roads. Speeding is an enforcement issue best addressed by ACT Policing. I encourage constituents to report such behaviour to ACT Policing on 131 444 or to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, providing as much detail as possible. This information can assist ACT Policing in following up the matter.

I trust this information is of assistance.

Motion to take note of petitions

Motion (by Madam Speaker), pursuant to standing order 98A, agreed to:

That the responses so lodged be noted.

Bushfire preparedness—prescribed burning program

Ministerial statement

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.08): I wish to bring to the Assembly’s attention and acknowledge the ongoing work to protect the community from bushfires through the delivery of well-planned and executed prescribed burns.

Our memories of the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires and the Orroral Valley fire remain strong. The season had 391 declared fires, and the ACT’s Namadgi National Park was heavily burnt. It was only recently that the road into Orroral Valley was reopened to the public. During the Orroral Valley fire alone, the ACT Parks and Conservation Service supplied 178 staff for a total of 895 shifts. When interstate deployments are included, the number shifts increased to almost 2,400. This is an extraordinary effort from both from our people in the ACT Parks and Conservation Service and from interstate colleagues. I am extremely proud of the hard work and resilience that was displayed. There were also 151 days of stand up due to high fire danger across the season. Of course, these numbers do not include the significant and very important effort provided through our valued volunteer brigades.

We have had three very wet years and the COVID-19 pandemic since Black Summer. However, there are predictions of a drying period associated with a possible El Nino season ahead. There is also the CSIRO prediction where temperatures will increase by an average of 1.5 degrees, occurring in the next five years. It is time to refocus and redouble our efforts on fire management.

In addition to their role in protecting, conserving and enhancing the natural environment, the ACT Parks and Conservation Service perform a critical role in reducing the risk of bushfires in the ACT. They are responsible for planning and delivering the prescribed burn program and for providing firefighting capacity in support of the Emergency Services Agency when bushfires occur. PCS has a unique role as the largest manager of land in the ACT and the largest permanent bushfire response team in the ACT.

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