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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (15 November) . . Page.. 3535..


MR PRATT (continuing):

Bushfire brigade captains are writing these things because they are not particularly happy with the way their volunteers feel about this. The captains want to remove a problem affecting morale and hindering their brigades and their SES units. That is why they are moving with some speed to try and get this resolved. I respect the fact that the volunteer brigades association are currently in talks with the Department of JACS and I know that they are looking at a proposed model put on the table, I think, over the weekend. Whilst we are demanding that the minister seize this legislation today and use it to resolve this problem quickly, we have to respect and acknowledge the fact that the VBA are currently in talks with JACS and those talks will go for the remainder of this week. We do not wish to interrupt that process, but, for God's sake, minister, if, when this current range of discussions between the VBA and the Department of JACS concludes-and we believe that will be some time in the next week or so-if the VBA and the JACS are still at a point of impasse on how to resolve this issue, come back and revisit this legislation. If you do not, I can promise you that if in February 2007 the SES and RFS brigades and units still have this problem we will bring this legislation back here and we will keep bringing it back until something is done.

As far as the opposition are concerned, we want to see this problem removed. We want to see the RFS and SES volunteers back on track, focusing on the concerns that this community has regarding bushfire season preparations. We again implore the government to pass and implement this legislation so that our brigades and units can feel at ease and be ready to move on to the tasks for which they have volunteered. It is an absolute shame that a minister with an office the size of his and with the resources that he has got available to him has been unable to take a leadership decision and move quickly enough to resolve this issue in the blink of an eyelid.

Why did we need a committee formed? Why does the minister say that we have to wait until the end of the bushfire season to resolve an issue that goes to the heart of morale and provides a negative impact on our units? With his staff and the resources that he has immediately available to him, why could the minister not have made a bold decision to solve this problem in a flash? He has failed to, which means he has failed our volunteers. He has allowed a morale problem to stay in place-a morale problem that affects the preparation of our volunteers for a very bad fire season.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo-Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Planning) (3.37): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I seek leave to make an explanation under standing order 47.

Leave granted.

MR CORBELL: Mr Smyth in his speech indicated that I said the Financial Management Act was for the management of government moneys. That is not what I said. In fact I said:

Under the Financial Management Act, money can be classified into two categories: it is either public money that needs to be deposited into consolidated revenue or it is trust money donated for a specific purpose.


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