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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 28 November 2018) . . Page.. 4988 ..


are: advice—that is, that a fire has started and that there is no immediate danger; watch and act—that there is a heightened level of threat, that conditions are changing and that you need to start taking action now to protect yourself and your family; and emergency warning—the highest level of bushfire alert, that you may be in danger and need to take action immediately, with any delays now putting your life at risk.

Bushfire alerts are issued using the ESA website and also Twitter, Facebook, local radio and television, telephone via the Access Canberra call centre, and emergency alert. It is important that the community knows what the fire danger ratings and bushfire alerts mean for them and their families well before the bushfire season starts.

Fire services throughout Australia produce a fire danger rating for each day during the bushfire season. In December 2017 I announced the installation of the automated digital fire danger rating signs in the ACT that will help keep Canberrans and visitors up to date with the latest fire danger information. The signs are highly visible. They are strategically located on major arterial roads throughout the ACT.

The fire danger ratings are low/moderate, high, very high, severe, extreme and catastrophic. In low/moderate, high and very high conditions, you should review your bushfire survival plan with your family, keep yourself informed, monitor conditions and be ready to act if necessary. In severe and extreme conditions, leaving early is the safest option for your survival. Well-prepared homes that are actively defended can provide safety, but only stay if you are prepared and able to defend in these conditions. If you are not prepared or able, leave early. In catastrophic conditions, leaving early is the only option for your survival. Do not wait and see what happens.

I must stress that it is very important for the community to understand that some fires start and spread so quickly that you may not always receive all three threat levels of bushfire alert in a consecutive order. You may simply receive an emergency warning first. There may also be situations where there is no time for any warnings to be issued at all. This is why the community should not rely on warnings before they start acting to protect their family. It is also another reason for all Canberrans to be bushfire ready. I encourage residents to visit the ESA website, download a bushfire survival plan and take the four steps to get ready for a bushfire.

I would like to take this opportunity to recognise and thank all our emergency service workers for their dedication and assistance in making Canberra a safer place for us all over this summer. They do a great job of keeping Canberra safe. I acknowledge their hard work and dedication. It is also important to acknowledge their families, who see their loved ones head off to work on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day.

I want to express my disappointment about the terms of the motion moved by the Canberra Liberals’ spokesperson and her comments directed to me earlier about seeing what we can increase. Firstly, I refer to a question on notice that was signed off and sent to her two days ago directly on this matter. We were asked whether these operations could be increased. In the answer I said:

Implementing prescribed burning is a risky and challenging task which takes into account resources available both for the burn and the days following the burn.


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