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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 15 March 2007) . . Page.. 587 ..

Thursday, 15 March 2007

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services

Motion of no confidence

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (10.31): I seek leave to move a motion of no confidence in the Minister for Police and Emergency Services.

Leave granted.

MR PRATT: I move:

That this Assembly expresses a lack of confidence in the Minister for Police and Emergency Services for his mismanagement of, and failure to consult with, the Emergency Services.

Mr Speaker, today on the back of a couple of tumultuous weeks of ministerial embuggerance we have seen the volunteer bushfire association, the brigades, the SES units, a number of professional officers, turn out en masse to demonstrate outside the ACT Legislative Assembly. Why have they done this? It is because they are disgusted with the decisions that were taken in this place last week and, frankly, by the commissioner himself, the Commissioner for Emergency Services, to restructure the ESA to have impact on organisational aspects and the way the services are to operate.

After all sorts of claims having been made that the government and the bureaucrats had consulted with our volunteers and consulted with our professional officers, what we have seen today in fact is the lie being put to all of those claims. The lie has been put to those claims by the mere fact of the demonstration that we have seen out here today blockading the Legislative Assembly.

What this demonstrates is that these very professional volunteers, men and women of many years experience and some of them new and keen, along with many of our professional officers in the fire brigade and the ambulance service, are dismayed at the changes that have been rent upon the emergency services. They are dismayed at what have been simply retrograde steps taken. And why have those steps been taken? For bureaucratic reasons only; they have nothing to do with operational efficiency or refining the ability of our emergency services to respond quickly to protect our community.

Today we see out here in this square a square parked out with emergency services vehicles. Today we saw a massive turnout of volunteers and we are told that the great majority of the units, the brigades, their men and women, have turned out to demonstrate their concern and their calm but rightful anger at this government for the decisions it has taken.

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