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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 November 2015) . . Page.. 3973 ..


that they are ready for the season. It would be appropriate for the minister responsible for the emergency services on the first sitting day in September to make that statement so that people can assess whether the government have prepared properly for the coming season.

Recommendation 25 is about coordination. Recommendation 26 says:

The Committee recommends that the ACT Government confirm their commitment to the retention of the Fire Management Unit in TAMS.

There were some moves some time ago to get rid of it; the Liberal Party and the Greens combined to save the fire unit. That is a very valuable unit; it should continue.

There is some concern that some positions at headquarters are not filled, particularly in the rural service. Rec 27 says, “Let’s make sure all the positions are filled at the start of each season.”

Recommendation 28 goes back to the issue of what we are preparing for and how we prepare. It says:

The Committee recommends that the ACT Government adopt and define a ‘model of service’ or ‘standard of fire cover’ for bushfire risks in the ACT in place of the current ‘strategic bushfire capability’.

This is at the heart of what the Auditor-General was saying in her report. It is well and good to say, “We are prepared because we have got A, B, C, D and E,” but if that is not what you need to fight the sort of fire season that is coming, it is next to useless in many ways. What we want to do is work out and, as the auditor said, define a model. What is it that the RFS needs to be capable of doing? If that involves bringing in units from interstate, so be it, but let us make sure we know exactly what we are doing and what standard of fire cover we are providing.

Recommendation 29 builds on that and says:

The Committee recommends that the … Government predict a range of realistic bushfire scenarios; calculate the resources needed to protect the ACT in line with a model of service; and ensure that these resources are in place by the 2016 bushfire season.

Again this builds on what the auditor was saying. It seems to me we are saying, “We have a Rural Fire Service; they can do that. Therefore we are prepared,” rather than saying, “What is the actual threat? What is the risk? What do you need to do to ameliorate that and protect the people of the ACT?”

Recommendation 30 looks at legislation. There were a number of instances in the audit report where the legislation was unclear or the government had not complied. The recommendation says:

The Committee recommends that the ACT Government clarify legislative provisions relating to bushfire preparedness which have been identified by the


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