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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 28 November 2018) . . Page.. 4989 ..


The ACT Parks and Conservation Service (PCS) utilise all available trained, skilled and accredited resources from across several government directorates, including EPSDD, TCCS and JACS.

The closing comment in that answer was:

PCS already maximise the opportunities for burning by utilising all available resources and scheduling multiple burns across any available burning window.

The last sentence states:

We cannot safely increase what we already undertake on any given day.

That is a pretty clear response to Mrs Jones in regard to whether more burns can be done in any particular window. As I said, I think the hard work of front-line staff should be remembered. I think the comments from Mrs Jones disrespect the hardworking men and women who keep the city safe. Theirs is not an easy job. Because of their actions, our city is better prepared than ever before in the event of a bushfire. This is why I moved the amendment.

The hard work of our front-line staff and volunteers is not good enough for the Canberra Liberals. Their spokesperson on emergency services—the acolyte of the Abbott and Dutton era—thinks she knows better than our experts. Like Abbott and Dutton, the member opposite is happy to ignore the expert advice and happy to ignore scientists, as she has done with this motion, knowing the response from the experts.

Time after time, Mrs Jones has been informed about the range of ways our city is kept safe from bushfires. For example, Mrs Jones has been informed that prescribed hazard reduction burns are only one way to keep the city safe and that these burns cannot always be undertaken as planned because of weather and other factors. But it is not good enough. For Mrs Jones, there is only one way: burning; prescribed burns are the only way.

In the best conservative—dare I say “authoritarian”—traditions, the Canberra Liberals spokesperson demands that prescribed burns must occur on the day they have been scheduled. It does not matter what the weather is, whether it is windy or hot. It does not matter if experts in bushfire management are saying it is not appropriate. It does not even matter if it is not safe to do so. According to the Canberra Liberals, a burn should happen if planned, no matter what. This was the clear position Mrs Jones gave to the Canberra Times earlier this year. I quote from the article:

An ACT government spokesman said the highly variable weather meant the entire schedule of burns was not able to be carried out every year, and this was factored into their overall bushfire management plan.

Outstanding burns were rolled over into the next year, he said.

But Canberra Liberals emergency services spokeswoman Giulia Jones said dry weather conditions shouldn’t be a deterrent … 


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