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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (22 November) . . Page.. 3772..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

six-cylinder car but drives an extra 100 kilometres. If both cars travel 500 kilometres, the four-cylinder car would produce an estimated 0.07 tonnes of carbon dioxide against 1.5 tonnes if the car were a six-cylinder car. There are very significant greenhouse gas implications in this as well as cost. I look forward to the support of members. (Time expired.)

Emergency services—volunteer brigade funds

MR PRATT: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Last week, during the debate on the Emergencies Amendment Bill 2006, you referred to RFS and SES volunteers as "recognised territory employees for a range of reasons". We know that it is not possible for a volunteer bushfire brigade member or SES unit member to access the ESA portal or participate in exchange programs with the US, for example, or undertake a range of other activities like public service employees in the ESA. We also know that the VBA are incensed at the hypocrisy shown in your statements last week on the so-called public service status, to the point that they are likely to consider withdrawing their services. Given that you do not treat them like public servants, what gives you the right to meddle in their banking and fund-raising affairs as if they were public servants?

MR CORBELL: As I have indicated previously in this debate, volunteers receive certain protections that would otherwise only be available to public servants. That is a fact that Mr Pratt chooses to ignore. If they were not representatives of the territory, acting on behalf of the territory, and effectively the same as public servants, why do we represent them in court when there is a coronial inquest? That is the point I am trying to make. They receive certain protections and advantages, which are similar to those of public servants in that regard. That is the point I am making.

MR PRATT: I have a supplementary question. Minister, why are you not prepared to act expeditiously on volunteers' concerns about this issue?

MR CORBELL: I am acting as quickly as possible on this issue, but we are yet to get agreement. It is a matter of regret and disappointment to me that the VBA has rejected a compromise position put by the Department of Justice and Community Safety and the ESA, but that is the decision they have taken. So it is back to the table to try to work out something. I am keen to see the resolution of this issue as quickly as possible, but we need agreement from both sides to achieve that. Clearly, we have not got that yet, so we will keep working on it until we do.

Planning—EpiCentre lease

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Minister for Planning and relates to the EpiCentre legal advice. Minister, yesterday, in response to a question from Mr Mulcahy, you said:

The advice was sought following a request from Austexx, a potential bidder. What does the opposition think we should do, ignore it?

Austexx asked the question on 23 November, but that was after ING Real Estate asked a similar question on 23 September, two full months before. They asked in their


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