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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 7 Hansard (29 June) . . Page.. 2984..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

right. It was the system we set up. It is the system this government inherited when it came to office in October 2001. The system worked to its limit but worked well on Christmas Eve 2001, and its the system that Mr Quinlan-who was the minister then-left in place, and with that fire on Christmas Eve 2001 it became his system. He then had the ability to either acknowledge that changes were to be made or that you were happy with what was there. There was a review, and 106 recommendations came out of it. At the end of those recommendations and despite the claim from the government that it implemented all those recommendations, Mr Quinlan has just said that the same system was still in place. That means the minister neglected his responsibility.

We are not going to re-write history here this evening. This city had a wake-up call on Christmas Eve 2001. The system that was in place on that day worked. It was stretched to its limits, and nothing was done to upgrade it significantly to be ready for the 2002-03 fire season. With that baptism of fire, with that event, and with the minister's choice to leave it in place, that system became his system and it is the system that he is responsible for in the coronial inquiry that is under way now.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming, and Acting Minister for Planning) (11.44): That is a very eloquent summary of where we are today. After the 2001 fire Mr Smyth was out praising the firefighters and the whole system-and rightly so-as we and Mr Pratt were. There was a review and recommendations, and those recommendations were implemented. The point I was making before and the point I make again is that it is a pretty grubby damn process for the opposition to make capital out of the worst disaster that has struck Canberra-even today asking the same question in so many different ways, trying to milk something out of it at the political level. It is well to remember that the people the opposition wishes to lynch, the team that was in place, saw nothing wrong with the system in the time of the previous government, and nothing wrong with it after the 2001 fire.

It is only with hindsight and political need that the opposition is now suddenly saying the system was no good, that it was not sufficient and it is all down to the current government. Had the Liberals been returned to government in 2001, and we went through the 2001 fire as we did, there would not have been a lot different by the time the January 2003 fire struck. I think it is safe to say that and I hope and trust that the coroner's inquest will be aware of that as well.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Proposed expenditure-part 1.19-Department of Education and Training, $415,320,000 (net cost of outputs), $33,580,000 (capital injection) and $135,061,000 (payments on behalf of the territory), totalling $583,962,000.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming, and Acting Minister for Planning) (11.47): I move amendment No 2 circulated in my name [See schedule 1 at page 3006]. I present the supplementary explanation statement to the government amendments and associated supplementary budget papers. I present the following papers:

Explanatory memorandum to the Government amendments.


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