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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 5 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1934..


MR WOOD (continuing):

particular, the bill should not be seen as signalling any shift in responsibility for commercial building owners to maintain their buildings, including the removal of graffiti.

The bill also facilitates the more rapid removal of abandoned vehicles from public land. These are often the target of vandals, and the proposed changes will increase the government's capacity to protect vehicles and the surrounding area by reducing from seven to two days the time allowed for the owner to remove the vehicle before authorised officers can remove the vehicle to a secure location. I commend the bill to the house.

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

Emergencies Bill 2004

Mr Wood , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, and Minister for Arts and Heritage) (11.24): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I present the Emergencies Bill 2004. It is a bill to establish an independent Emergency Services Authority in place of the existing Emergency Services Bureau and to consolidate and modernise existing legislation for the management of all emergencies in the territory. I welcome to the chamber Mr Peter Dunn, the emergency services commissioner, and officers who have worked extraordinarily hard to bring this large piece of legislation to the Assembly for its consideration, and I thank them for the work that they have done on behalf of all Canberrans.

Members of this Assembly will have vivid, sometimes fearful, memories of the events surrounding the firestorm on 18 January 2003. We have all been involved in discussion and debate about how those events occurred, how they were managed, and what might be done to make sure that either they do not recur or that they are managed to the very best of our capability.

It has not been easy for us or for the community we serve to endure the long processes of acceptance, recovery and investigations that necessarily follow such a disaster. These processes will continue for some time yet and I hope that we will continue to learn and contribute to the improvement of this territory's ability to deal with future major emergencies, should any occur.

As significant as the firestorm was, it must not be the only focus of our reform. If such a terrible experience can be seen as serving our community in any way, then it must have been to highlight the need for large-scale reforms to our emergency services management structures and processes generally. The report of the McLeod inquiry found inefficiencies in the structure of the ACT's emergency services arrangement that frustrated the community, emergency workers and volunteers, and recommended that the


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