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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (21 October) . . Page.. 3877..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

Hazard reduction burning should be undertaken when required, at the appropriate times, based on climate, not politics. You do it when the conditions are right; that is, when it is cool and moderately dry, the autumn and the winter. You do not do it when you are taking stick from an inquiry or a critical report comes out, or you think it is time for a tricky media stunt.

Members of the previous government, unlike this Chief Minster, are prepared to admit mistakes. I was not a member of the previous government, just a humble adviser, but we did make mistakes. Like many of us, we took advice from people who were opposed to hazard reduction burning. Unlike the members opposite, we did not have the experience of not one but two disastrous fires and expert analysis of how and why they occurred to show where we were getting it wrong. Unlike those opposite, however, we are prepared to admit that we made mistakes.

We also did some good things. We unburied the McBeth report after it had been buried by the previous minister responsible for that-one, Bill Wood. We brought it into the open. We introduced the bushfire fuel management program, for all its faults, and there were faults in it. We will continue to consider the issues relating to hazard reduction-not just hazard reduction burning, but all of those issues. They are entirely consistent.

We do not think that it is appropriate to clear-fell the hilltops around a suburb just to show that you are responding to a current issue. That is what has happened with this government. This government has had two disastrous bushfires. I hope that there will not be a third on their watch.

Hospital waiting lists

MRS BURKE (4.39): I refer to a statement made by Mr Corbell in question time earlier today. He clearly and quite wrongly-knowingly, I believe-misrepresented me about a statement I had made in a media release I had issued yesterday. I propose to table that media release, along with another one that I have.

I was disappointed because he knowingly, for his own cheap political gain, twisted the truth about the real situation on hospital waiting lists. I find that unacceptable. He should stop playing with smoke and mirrors, particularly with people's lives at risk. Mr Corbell simply plucked part of my media release out of the air, without putting it in context. If he had cared to read on he would have found that I said:

...there was no point admitting more people for surgery, when those already on the list couldn't be catered for.

I went on to say:

September's result is the highest the waiting lists have been since an all time high in April of 4,330 (April's figure was the highest result in over two years) and any gains bought by the Minister have already been wiped out.

I think that speaks for itself and ever likely I would say what I said. My great concern is that this minister is keeping focus on access to lists rather than management of waiting lists. While the $2 million injection may be giving access to more elective surgery, it is


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