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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (21 October) . . Page.. 3847..


Mrs Dunne (continuing):

hazard-reduction burning? I, and the people of the ACT, do not want a homily from the minister.

MR SPEAKER: Order! I understand the point of order taken by the member. The member should resume her seat. The Chief Minister will address the issues that were referred to in the supplementary question.

MR STANHOPE: The member's question, which was based on a false premise, does not deserve a response. Throughout the winter period and all through spring an enormous amount of hazard-reduction burning and bushfire work has been carried out. I refer to the removal of hazardous material in areas adjacent to and around the Weston Creek area. We cleared 500 hectares of burned forest that still presented a hazard. It involved a great deal of effort and it cost millions of dollars to clear, remove and dispose of hazardous material in that area.

Over the past six months this government willingly undertook, at great cost to it, the largest amount of hazard-reduction burning that has ever been undertaken in the ACT. With the cooperation of dedicated workers we caught up on seven years of Liberal Party neglect. Opposition members should not forget that for seven of the eight years prior to the fires on 18 January the Liberal Party was in government. For most of those eight years Mrs Dunne was senior adviser to the minister who was responsible for conducting hazard reduction exercises. Mrs Dunne is somewhat bashful about her responsibility in that area and about that lack of action by her minister.

Mr Stefaniak: On a point of order: I refer to standing orders. The minister, who is rambling, is hardly confining himself to answering the supplementary question.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The minister must confine himself to answering the supplementary question.

MR STANHOPE: I have concluded, Mr Speaker.

Bushfires-briefing for government

MRS BURKE: My question is to the Chief Minister. Did the Emergency Services Bureau prepare a brief to the government early in the week beginning 13 January 2003, warning them that the fires were likely to reach Canberra and that people should be warned? Did any member of the government receive that briefing?

MR STANHOPE: I will have to take that question on notice. The minister who would have received that briefing during that week is Mr Wood. Mr Wood is not present today, and I cannot speak for him. I certainly did not receive any such briefing early in that week. I will arrange for the minister for emergency services to respond.

Cooleman Ridge-grazing

MS TUCKER: My question, which is to Mr Stanhope as Minister for Environment, is in regard to the decision of Environment ACT to put cattle on Cooleman Ridge. This decision has caused great concern in the Cooleman Ridge park care group as well as in the broader community. The Cooleman Ridge park care group have been working to


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