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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 2362..


MR WOOD (continuing):

number of comments. Certainly the government-and I think all of Canberra-has learnt from the fires of 2001 and 2003. One point Ms Tucker mentioned was the state of alert. That is an eminently sensible thing, and we do not really need to have it in the legislation. We can call a state of alert and say, "Hang on out there! Pay attention to what's going on around you!"But it is now written into the legislation, and it is a sensible idea.

Ms Dundas repeated some of the comments she made in estimates about following the McLeod recommendations. That was a point Mr Smyth also made, and I think that has been discussed. We are only too happy to do the very best we can. If we can improve on what McLeod said, we certainly will do so.

I described the content of the bill in some detail when I presented it, so I will not labour the detail again. I will note some points to be remembered about the intent underlying the bill. Under the legislation the authority will focus more directly on keeping our community more informed and ready, should an emergency arise.

While the four services will retain their individual identity and ethos, which is a very important aspect-I know that was something the opposition was keen about-there is a clear direction to operate and manage in a cohesive environment. This is reflected in consolidated provisions for staffing of services, the powers and functions of service chiefs, and for consolidated guidelines and procedures.

There is strong recognition in this bill of the valuable role of our volunteers. They were given clear ownership of their role in emergency response and afforded clear protection from liability and personal loss while performing their duties.

There has been subsequent discussion on a range of important innovations proposed by this legislation. I thank members for their comments. I certainly share their support for all the officers who have worked so assiduously to bring this legislation into being so it can be presented tonight. I think it is a very good basis on which to seek your support of this bill.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Clauses 1 to 9, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

Proposed new clause 9A.

MR PRATT (8.10): I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name, which inserts a new clause 9A [see schedule 2 at page 2441].

The purpose of my first amendment is this: it is necessary for the authority to take control or command when a level of emergency response develops to a certain complexity or involves a number of services, and where the incident controller and his or her chief officer believe that the situation has escalated beyond the incident controller's


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