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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (5 March) . . Page.. 574..


MR HARGREAVES: I have yet to see a Collingwood match scheduled for Stateline, but I look forward to that.

Mr Pratt mention that 75 per cent of the ethnic community does not watch SBS. I have not seen that evidence; I would love to see it. It could be that, with the diverse nature of SBS, people are very selective about the language programs they access. I am not because I actually read the captions at the bottom. I look at quite a lot of it. I would love to see the evidence, so Mr Pratt might like to provide it later.

I thank members for their support. I reckon that if the federal government listens to us and people like us, we might get our 8c a day plus SBS.

Motion agreed to.

Bushfires-prevention education

MR PRATT (5.30): I move:

That noting the Chief Minister's call for more education on fire prevention, and noting that the ACT bushfire season remains current, that this Assembly calls on the Government to immediately implement the following:

(1) Emergency Services Bureau bushfire prevention information and emergency management briefing programs in those bushland suburbs deemed vulnerable to bushfire; and

(2) mandatory Emergency Services Bureau/Education Department bushfire prevention and safety measures programs in all schools.

Mr Deputy Speaker, the full range of lessons arising from the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the 18 January bushfire disaster have yet to be identified. Hopefully the investigations and inquiries which are planned will vigorously pull out all those lessons-but I doubt, without an independent inquiry, that all of these lessons will be realised.

However, clear gaps are emerging in emergency planning and preparations regarding the provision of information, education and contingency planning where it really matters in the fire-prone suburbs and in our schools. Indeed, these gaps were clearly recognised last year when the opposition looked at the lessons arising from the Christmas 2001 fires. We vigorously encouraged the government to adopt mandatory bushfire education in government schools. This was rejected by the government and some members on the crossbenches. Late last year we introduced the concept of bushfire prone suburbs briefings and contingency planning. Indeed, the Emergency Services Bureau made it pretty clear to me in November 2002 that they favoured this sort of proactive contingency planning.

As I have said repeatedly, any bushfire prevention programs will minimise the need for our fire units to turn out to fight fires. It will not eradicate their having to do that but it will minimise the effort. That is a fundamental tenet of emergency management. We have good front-line fire fighting units and a lot of enthusiastic people but I have always


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