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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 August 2018) . . Page.. 3268 ..

as is fire trail access maintenance and the physical removal of vegetation and other flammable material.

These activities are all outlined in the 2018-19 BOP, which will soon be presented to the ESA Commissioner for final approval. This year’s BOP will highlight over 700 individual tasks to better prepare the territory for bushfire and will include 5,000 hectares of proposed prescribed burning, subject to appropriate conditions. I note the ACT Bushfire Council’s acknowledgement of the work completed against the 2017-18 EPSDD BOP, given the difficulty of decreasing windows of opportunity to safely conduct hazard reduction burns as the climate changes.

ACT and federal government funding has provided 12 automated digital fire danger signs that will help keep Canberrans and visitors up to date with the latest fire danger information. Funding has also been provided so that all ESA vehicles have automated external defibrillators to increase the availability of providing this additional potential lifesaving service to the Canberra community.

To prepare the community, each year the ESA doorknocks houses in the bushfire-prone area to help residents understand their risk and how they take steps to prepare their family and property. Further supporting this activity is the Emergency Services Open Day, which will be held on 28 October this year at ESA headquarters in Fairbairn. The open day is where the ESA, supported by ACT government directorates and partners, showcases its members and capability to the general public and provides further information to the public on how to prepare itself.

The community fire units, CFUs, are a valued volunteer service made up of local residents who live close to bushland areas across the ACT. On 1 September 2018, CFU Saturday, units across Canberra will meet at a number of locations, such as local shops, parks and bushfire-prone areas, to conduct community education activities.

The work undertaken by ESA in the lead-up to each bushfire season is in preparation for an eventuation of the worst-case scenario. In addition to regular administrative, training and interagency collaborative pre-season preparation, the early start to the bushfire season will be supported by new initiatives and capabilities.

These include the contracting of a special intelligence-gathering helicopter for the height of the coming season. This helicopter has a high-definition and infrared camera on board, with imagery that can livestream to the ESA incident management room. The helicopter will significantly enhance bushfire fighting operations by allowing key decision-makers to better understand the extent of the situation as it unfolds from the IMR, which will generally and greatly assist the incident controller in complex situations.

To further improve incident management in the ACT, the ESA recently invested to upgrade incident management facilities at ESA headquarters. The upgrades include improved ICT, dedicated seating for key incident staff, and an improved layout that will enhance team communications and coordination during critical and complex incidents.

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