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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 November 2015) . . Page.. 3975 ..


with some important lessons that we need to keep in mind as we go forward. It underscores how important it is that the ACT should be prepared for bushfires now and into the future.

I will not reiterate the recommendations that Mr Smyth has gone through in some detail, but I would like to thank all of the organisations and individuals that contributed to and appeared before the inquiry, including the Auditor-General, responsible ministers, and directorate and agency officials for their collaborative and helpful responses during the course of the inquiry.

I would also like to thank the other committee members, including the chair, Mr Smyth, who brings a lot of knowledge to this particular topic, as well as his excellent chairing skills and his ability to reach agreement on the majority of the recommendations. I also thank Ms Porter, previously Ms Berry and more recently Ms Fitzharris, as members of the committee. I would also like to thank Dr Andrea Cullen, Dr Brian Lloyd, Ms Kate Harkins and Mr Greg Hall for their support of the committee during the course of this inquiry.

Bushfire preparedness is something that we need to think about every day. Many of us live on the urban fringe and are quite susceptible to bushfires. But as we saw back in 2003 and in other instances, bushfires can reach even further into the suburbs than we may have otherwise thought. I look forward to the government’s responses to the 38 recommendations of this PAC inquiry into the Auditor-General’s report No 5 of 2013 on bushfire preparedness.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (10.32), in reply: To close, I would also say thanks. Indeed, when we started this report I think Ms Berry and Dr Bourke may well have been on the committee. To Ms Porter, Ms Fitzharris and Ms Lawder, thank you for your assistance in working our way through this report. I think the committee has done a particularly good job in this area. To the secretariat, Dr Cullen was with us at the start. Dr Lloyd assisted, Ms Kate Harkins helped finish and Mr Greg Hall did some of the research for us. Through you, Madam Speaker, I would thank those people in the secretariat as well.

The last four recommendations—particularly recommendations 35 and 36—look at the arrangements. Recommendation 35 says, “Let’s make sure there are a number of suitable heavy bulldozers available should they be required.” Particularly in 2003 the heavy dozers were invaluable in cutting roads up on the Franklin Road and clearing fallen trees.

Indeed, I know of one case in the 2003 fire where a very large bulldozer was sitting on a low-loader. A nearby volunteer said, “Are you here to help us?” The guy said, “Well, I can if you want.” The volunteer said, “Put a cut in there.” The dozer driver said, “I will have to go through a government gate, but the gate is locked.” The volunteer said, “You have my authorisation to remove the gate.” They cut a very hasty break behind Bonython Hill, which I believe saved a large number of houses as the fire was threatening that area. I think the volunteer in particular took a great deal of delight in ordering the driver to smash through a gate, but that is a volunteer for you.


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