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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 10 (19 October) . . Page.. 3309..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

firefighting capacity through the compressed-air foam system—another recommendation of McLeod. Those tankers are now in service in the RFS.

Yes, there is more work to be done; I do not shy away from that. But at least this government has some runs on the board in terms of improving the physical assets of the emergency services. In contrast, I challenge Mr Smyth to highlight any significant increase in funding to the then Emergency Services Bureau in his time in office. I doubt that we would see the level of increase that this government has put into the emergency services since the disaster of 2003. The government is cognisant of the issues still facing our emergency services. I as minister have asked that steps be taken to address this range of issues. We will continue to assess these comprehensively. We will continue with our commitment to improving and supporting the ability and capability of our emergency services in all four elements.

Emergency Services Authority

MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, my question is to the minister for emergency services. Minister, how do you explain your inability to accept ministerial responsibility for delay in the relocation of the emergency services headquarters, failure to achieve maximum functionality within budget for the trunk radio network, failure to achieve maximum functionality within budget for FireLink, the loss of the commissioner and two deputy commissioners following the integration of the Emergency Services Authority into JACS, the fiasco over the management of the funds raised by volunteers, the failure to upgrade the vehicle fleet—which, by the way, according to this chart, was in better shape in 2001 than it is in 2006—the failure to finalise version 2 of the strategic bushfire management plan and the failure of emergency services to manage its budget, leading to two payments from the Treasurer's Advance of $5 million each?

Ms MacDonald: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: that seemed like at least 10 questions to me, not one.

MR SPEAKER: It is not the most complex question that has ever been asked here.

MR CORBELL: The government stands by its record of significant investment into our emergency services. We stand by our investment of money into new communications equipment, new vehicles, new protective equipment, new radio communications, a new operations centre and the development of a strategic bushfire management plan. That is the ex-government over here that did not even have a strategic bushfire management plan and did not spend any money on fire fuel reduction. How much money did that mob spend on fire fuel reduction? How often did we see controlled burns in the ACT to reduce fire fuel under the previous government? This is the sort of hypocrisy we hear from those opposite.

The government stands by its commitment. We stand by our investment in emergency services. We stand by the significant improvements that have occurred since the 2003 fires. There is no limitless pot of money which we can continually draw upon to have everything gold-plated when it comes to emergency services. Like all government agencies, emergency services must work within its budget. But this government has increased funding by over 40 per cent—the total amount of money invested in emergency services.


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