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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 10 (19 October) . . Page.. 3300..


DR FOSKEY (continuing):

either an impartial third party or it is not. I would have thought that their impartiality or the appearance of their impartiality, which is crucial to public confidence in the complaints systems, is either an objective fact or a subjective judgment based on reasonable presumptions. Impartiality cannot be mandated for by legislation.

It could be that this arrangement will work beautifully; that will depend entirely on getting the right people in those positions, remembering that when one selects people one usually selects them according to their ability to meet the selection criteria, not for their ability to work with the other people who are being selected for other jobs. I think it may well be a bit serendipitous if that does work out, but I want the Human Rights Commission to work; I am not like the opposition. I do not believe that it has been given a fair go yet, and for Mr Stefaniak to say that it will assist criminals rather than ordinary citizens really misses the point of what the Human Rights Commission was set up to do. The Human Rights Commission, with its Children and Young People Commissioner and Disability and Community Services Commissioner, albeit thoroughly cut, is about preventing people from becoming criminals in the first place.

It could be that this arrangement will work beautifully, and if ever a trio of professionals should be qualified to cooperate in a collegiate and cooperative manner these commissioners should be those people.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.30 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Emergency services—communications

MR STEFANIAK: My question is directed to the minister for emergency services. When the SES recently turned out to tackle high windstorm damage they were confronted by about 130 incidents and emergency tasks. Minister, why did you persevere with the digital data communications system FireLink when it failed to cope with 130 incidents the SES had to deploy to? Why did you persevere with it when the SES units had to abandon using it and instead had to fall back on their radio network?

MR CORBELL: I am not sure the date, the time or the incident Mr Stefaniak is referring to. If he were to tell me when that was, I would be happy to look at that.

There is a misconception in Mr Stefaniak's question. FireLink is not a radio communications system and it is not the primary channel for communications; FireLink is a data transfer system to transfer data on the geographic location of vehicles and other short text messages. It is not used for immediate dispatch or deployment of the SES, RFS or any other emergency service in the ACT. Nor is it used as the primary communication channel at any instance. To suggest that SES units are falling back onto some other form of communications is simply wrong. There is a primary communications mechanism; that is, the digital TRN radio in the case of the SES, or the VHF in the case of the RFS.

I am also advised that FireLink has been operating fully and effectively for the past month, which is very pleasing news indeed. I understand that that system continues to be


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