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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 5 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1734..

Emergency services

MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the Minister for Emergency Services. In today's Canberra Times you stated that you would be introducing an emergencies bill on Thursday. This would allow authorities to declare a state of alert to allow residents to be warned formally of a pending threat such as bushfire.

There was nothing to stop your government, other than apathy and incompetence, from warning the people of Canberra of the pending threat of the bushfires in January 2003. Indeed, the normal process for authorities in Northern Australia is to warn of the threat from cyclones if there is even the slightest chance of the cyclone causing damage. This is also the normal practice with bushfires elsewhere in Australia.

Minister, why is your government adding layers of bureaucracy and delay to what should be a very straightforward process of warning the community? Why do you not simply acknowledge that it was the incompetence and complacency of this government that stopped you from warning the people of Canberra about the threat from the bushfires?

MR WOOD: As we debate proposed legislation and as I reflect on years gone by, I see that at various times a great deal has been said about what Mr Stefaniak argues-without the hyperbole attached to it. Let us have a good debate when the bill comes before this Assembly. There is no problem in spelling out-it will be done simply in the legislation-processes we might undertake. Why not do that? Are you opposed to that?

MR STEFANIAK: I have a supplementary question. How will the introduction of a state of alert assist the process of warning the community in a situation where the ACT cabinet is warned of a 40 to 60 per cent chance of a declaration of a state of emergency? No-one asks about warning the community, and the Minister for Emergency Services considers it not sufficient to warrant delaying his leave.

MR WOOD: We can go back and re-argue all this, as we have for a long period, or, given the time constraint that this Assembly has imposed, we can debate it when the bill comes down.

It being 3.00 pm, questions were interrupted pursuant to the order of the Assembly.

Appropriation Bill 2004-2005

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism and Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming) (3.01): Mr Speaker, I present Appropriation Bill 2004-2005, together with its explanatory statement, and the following supplementary budget papers in accordance with section 13 of the Financial Management Act 1996 and other associated budget papers:

Budget 2004-2005-

Financial Management Act, pursuant to section 10-

Budget Speech (Budget Paper No 1)

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