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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (5 March) . . Page.. 501..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

urban landscape and our rural landscape. We will have to think about how we reduce fire risk in the future. We will have to do some very serious thinking about what we do with the rural and forest land that was destroyed.

We need to take this opportunity to build a better city. This collective thinking needs to be facilitated and acted upon in a coordinated way. Let us not sink into a morass of indecision and procrastination while we slowly forget the human dimensions of so many lives interrupted. The Assembly has the opportunity to play a significant role in expediting the return to normal of those people whose lives have been put on hold. The question is: do we grasp this opportunity or do we meekly surrender it to the executive and its paternalistic formula of "we know best".

Are we game as a legislature and as a community to stand up and say, "Let's go further?"I believe we have the opportunity here and now to make a difference, a real difference, to people who are hurting. I like to think, in my more idealistic moments, that that is why we are here in this chamber. The question I leave with you today is: are we, as an Assembly, prepared to accept this challenge? I commend the Bushfire Reconstruction Authority Bill to the chamber.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope ) adjourned.

Inquiry into preparation for an operational response to January 2003 bushfires-proposed incorporation under Inquiries Act 1991

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (10.56): I move:

That the Assembly calls on the Chief Minister to incorporate the McLeod Inquiry into the Operational Response to the 18 January 2003 bushfire under the Inquiries Act 1991, with the following terms of reference, as issued previously by the Chief Minister:

Terms of reference

The disastrous ACT bushfires of January 2003 caused the deaths of four people and a heavy loss of private and public property. The Government proposes to undertake an Inquiry into the preparation for and operational response to those bushfires by the ACT's emergency services in order to identify improvements that might enhance the capacity to respond effectively to large scale events of that kind.

The Inquiry will examine and report on the adequacy of the response to the bushfires by the ACT Emergency Services Bureau and its components (ACT Bushfire Services, ACT Emergency Services, ACT Fire Brigade and ACT Ambulance Service) and other relevant agencies, including ACT Policing, Environment ACT and ACT Forests with particular reference to:

(a) the preparation, planning and response to the bushfires and of strategies for the evaluation and management of bushfire threat and risk;

(b) ESB's management structure, command and control arrangements, and public information strategy;


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