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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 2768..


Mr Smyth: There was a package of liability reform and there is the corrections package on the table now.

MR SPEAKER: Order! You do not have a point of order and if you did it would be hard to make out what is going on in here because of all your interjections. Have you completed your answer to the question, Chief Minister?

MR STANHOPE: Yes.

Bushfires-compensation for volunteers

MRS CROSS: My question is directed to the Chief Minister, Mr Stanhope. Chief Minister, in January this year the volunteers of the Canberra bushfire service and emergency services risked their lives for the greater benefit of the Canberra community. Those volunteers have been publicly recognised but I understand that they have not yet been offered any support, in the form of counselling and compensation, by the Emergency Services Bureau or by Justice and Community Safety. The Chief Minister has been happy to support ESB and JCS officers who were managing the bushfires at the time, which is entirely appropriate.

I understand that those officers were involved in issuing orders for the bushfire fighters to stand down at vital times in the lead-up to the 18 January bushfires. Perhaps as a result those actions resulted in the state of emergency situation and the following disaster for Canberra residents. Chief Minister, why do you support your bureaucrats who made decisions regarding the Canberra bushfires but you do not support the hardworking volunteers who put their lives on the line by insisting that those bureaucrats arrange appropriate counselling support?

MR STANHOPE: I am happy to answer the member's question, but Mr Wood is the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. I am not aware of what support the Emergency Services Bureau has provided to its officers or to volunteers. I defer this question to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services.

MR WOOD: I do not know where Mrs Cross got her information from but it is wrong.

Mrs Cross: The volunteers.

MR WOOD: A large amount of activity has occurred and compensation has been paid. A number of firefighters who parked their vehicles in a certain area lost those vehicles. However, no firefighter has suffered as a result of that loss. Any excess that has been incurred as a result of a claim on an insurance premium has been paid. So there has been no financial loss as a result of the loss of those motor vehicles. The issue that has been protracted relates to the contents of those vehicles. Two weeks before I went away there was still some dispute about the value of those contents.

Mr Corbell: It has been fixed.

MR WOOD: Mr Corbell just said that it has been fixed. There was some argument about the extent of those claims and whether replacement value or actual value should


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