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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 3 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 1066..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

I think that the town-people in Canberra generally-understood that there were bushfires, that those bushfires were proving difficult to control and that they were headed towards Canberra.

Chief Minister, in response to questions in the past fortnight, you have stated that you were not contacted by anyone on the evening of Friday, 17 January or the morning of 18 January 2003. Why weren't you contacted, given the serious developments that occurred? Why did you fail to ask? Why didn't you seek information, given that cabinet was warned on the Thursday that the fires were going to come close to Canberra and it was public knowledge that the fires had broken containment lines?

Why did you fail to take the initiative as Chief Minister and contact your department or the ESB on Friday night or Saturday morning? Why did you do nothing when you had information which the citizens of Canberra did not have about the fire threat? Since your deputy knew of the danger, why didn't you? Why were you just drinking coffee on the morning of that fateful day when the fires raged towards people's homes, redolent of fiddling while Rome burnt? When did you intend to warn the people of Canberra about the fire danger, if at all? Why should people rely on you when the next disaster approaches?

Mr Corbell: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. How many questions is Mr Smyth allowed to ask? He has asked about a dozen and I seek your guidance on whether that is within the standing orders.

MR SPEAKER: He is entitled to ask questions without notice, but if the questions become too complex a minister is entitled to say, "I will look into that and come back to you later."

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, I will look into that and come back to it later.

Canberra plan


: My question is to the Chief Minister. This morning's announcement by you of the Canberra plan was a most significant moment for the future of the territory. Can the Chief Minister please explain to the Assembly how the government intends to meet its commitment to the Canberra plan, particularly those initiatives that flow from the social plan.

MR STANHOPE: This is most certainly a government that delivers. The Canberra plan sets out an exciting new direction for this city. It weaves together the threads of the past and the present and, through that, it creates the fabric of the future. It will guide our city's growth and development for this generation and beyond. It sets out a vision and a strategy for the future.

Canberra will be recognised throughout the world not only as a beautiful city, not only as the seat of Australia's government and not only as the home of Australia's national institutions; it will be recognised as a place that represents the very best in Australian creativity, community living and sustainable development. That is our vision and a vision that is shared by the Canberra community.

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