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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (20 August) . . Page.. 2891..


MR PRATT (continuing):

a series of exercises from low level up to state of emergency scenarios would be tested. All service CEOs and their headquarters staff would be regularly tested together.

Mr Speaker, I propose that this legislation be presented to a round table that I have heard is being proposed. I am quite happy to undertake that process if that is what this place desires.

This attempt by the opposition, after broad consultation with local stakeholders and calling upon the experience of other emergency agencies outside the ACT, is fundamental to the security and safety of the ACT. For many months we have known that change was required to the organisation, the interphase between the minister and emergency capability and the existing emergency systems. (Extension of time granted.)

Mr Speaker, if the Labor government continues with its current plan it will give the ACT, the firefighters and other emergency agency personnel more of the same-another choking and unresponsive bureaucracy. I would urge Jon Stanhope to accept this legislation, to cut adrift the bureaucracy, rather than seek to continue the status quo. I would urge him to look to the needs and the wishes of the men and women on the ground.

For the sake of the safety of the ACT community and our environment, and for the sake of the retention of one of our most precious assets, our volunteers, the radical but positive change put forward by the opposition, complementing the general ideas and models put forward by the volunteers, must be quickly accepted and adopted by the Labor government. To ignore this call-a call echoed by the firefighting community-and to wait until July 2004 to come up with some model, as the government is promising, would be a continuation of the same sort of prevarication we have seen for some years in the ACT. I urge the government and the Assembly to accept and implement this legislation and this model as soon as possible.

Debate (on motion by Mr Wood ) adjourned to the next sitting.

2002-2003 bushfire season

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (11.09): I move:

That this Assembly calls on the Government to:

(1) not implement their proposed Emergency Services Authority until consultation has occurred with the Ambulance Service, Fire Brigade, Rural Fire Service, ACT Emergency Services, the Volunteer Bushfire Fighters Association and the Community at large;

(2) where appropriate, increase services to those in the community affected by the bushfire disaster, rather than decrease or remove services;

(3) outline to the Assembly, by close of business 21 August 2003, its assessment of the future needs of those affected by the bushfires in regard to counselling and other services; and


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