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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 26 October 2010) . . Page.. 5033 ..


MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Minister, could you please inform the Assembly of the steps the government is taking to ensure that Canberrans are prepared for the upcoming bushfire season?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Hargreaves for the question. The ACT government is working to make sure that Canberrans are aware of their obligations and what steps they need to take to keep themselves and their families safe in the lead-up to the coming bushfire season. Even though we have been blessed with a great amount of rainfall during the spring period, and the city is looking very green and pretty damp at the moment, it is important to remind Canberrans that, with the return of summer and the hot, dry conditions, the increased grass growth, in particular, that we have seen around the city will dry out, and that will present new fire risks for our city, particularly if rainfall does ease off as we head over December and into January.

For that reason, the government has launched its new information campaign to remind Canberrans of the steps they need to take to keep themselves, their families and their homes safe during the bushfire season. This is focused on the key message of prepare, act, survive. It involves a range of advertisements through radio, print and television to remind Canberrans of what steps they can and should take to protect themselves and their families. Daily messages will include advice on how you can look at issues and risks in your garden; how a bushfire affects people; developing your bushfire survival plan; developing plans for you, your family and friends for your home; understanding the fire danger rating; what you do dependent on what the fire danger rating is; and bushfire alert levels and making sure that Canberrans understand what the bushfire alert levels mean.

This campaign is a comprehensive campaign. It is very important that we remind Canberrans that now is not the time to be complacent; now is not the time to think that everything is going to be all right for this bushfire season. We do face increased bushfire risk as the fuel loads around the territory dry up, particularly fast running grass fires where the opportunity to provide a warning could be very limited because of the particular risks that grass fires present.

For that reason, it is very important that Canberrans are well prepared. This is a joint responsibility on the part of the government and private citizens to make sure that they are well prepared. I would encourage all Canberrans to have regard to and heed the advice being sent out in the campaign over the next week and to take the opportunity to go to the ESA website, to look closely at the bushfire survival plan, to download a copy, to talk about it with your family and friends—to make sure you are well prepared for the coming bushfire season.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Hargreaves?

MR HARGREAVES: Minister, would you please advise the Assembly on the government’s progress in implementing the 2009-10 and 2010-11 bushfire operational plans and their importance for fire preparedness in the ACT?

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