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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 November 2007) . . Page.. 3553 ..

forward to, to expedite this review process, how are you going to be able to repair the damage that exists between the government and the volunteers?

MR CORBELL: I have had some very good feedback from representatives of volunteers on the steps that have been taken over the last four to six months in particular. I meet regularly with representatives of the volunteers, along with the commissioner and the chief executive of my department, to discuss issues of mutual concern and interest. I meet with volunteers regularly every six to eight weeks. There have been about four of those meetings to date. That has proved to be a very effective and positive forum, and I have had some positive feedback from volunteers in relation to that.

It is regrettable that there has been a delay in finalising the terms of reference of the review. That matter is now being addressed. I am very pleased that draft terms of reference have been provided to volunteers. We are awaiting their comment. They received those only in the last week. Obviously, they will take a reasonable period of time to consider them.

The government is focused on continuing to improve the operations and the support provided to our emergency services. In the last budget, we made a major investment in our emergency services, which included funding for an additional 32 new vehicles to replace old or ageing vehicles in the RFS and SES fleet. We provided very significant, improved levels of funding for training and development of volunteers, including four-wheel drive training, helicopter entry and exit training and advanced fire control training. We have provided funding for additional communications capacity. We now have the TRN—the digital radio network—operating from Mount Tennent, providing very good coverage across a large part of the southern portion of the ACT, which is a very important advance.

The government has the runs on the board. We are providing increased resources and increased support for our emergency services—new vehicles and new training. We are providing a regular forum for contact and engagement. I am getting good feedback on that. There will always be road bumps from time to time, but I am very pleased with progress to date. We have a constructive level of engagement and we will continue that approach.

Emergency services—FireLink

MR MULCAHY: My question is to the minister for emergency services. Minister, in her report into the FireLink project, the ACT Auditor-General reported that the “external cost of the FireLink system was $4.5 million, although this did not include related costs such as “staff time spent on the project”. You subsequently provided advice, in relation to the total cost of the FireLink project, that the determination of these costs would require “extensive compilation”. Minister, what was the total cost to the ACT community of the now cancelled FireLink project?

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I have previously advised the Assembly on the costs associated with that project. I think that answer is complete.

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