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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 November 2021) . . Page.. 3186 ..

Amendment negatived.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Emergencies Amendment Bill 2021

Mr Gentleman, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella-Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (5.23): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to present the Emergencies Amendment Bill 2021. The Emergencies Act 2004 was introduced following the 2003 Canberra bushfires and consolidated all previous emergency legislation in the ACT. Section 203 of the act requires that its operation is reviewed at five-year intervals, to ensure that it reflects contemporary best practice. This requirement acknowledges the importance of continuous improvement in the emergency management sector.

Canberra’s status as the bush capital makes us uniquely vulnerable to natural disasters such as bushfires and extreme heat events. This means that our emergency arrangements must be of the highest order. The recurring review requirement in the act ensures that the territory is best placed to meet not only the hazards currently facing the territory, such as bushfires, but also risks that the territory will face in the future, such as the risks associated with a changing climate.

On 16 September 2021, I tabled in this place the report on the review into the effectiveness of the operation of the Emergencies Act, which was prepared to meet the requirements of section 203. The review was undertaken by a high-level group led by the Justice and Community Safety Directorate, with representatives from the Emergency Services Agency, ACT Policing and the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate. Stakeholders such as emergency service volunteer organisations, unions and the ACT Bushfire Council were also engaged in the review.

This broad representation in the review process is reflective of the all-hazards approach to emergency management contained in the act, and a recognition that no one agency or directorate can cover the full spectrum of emergency situations which may face the territory.

The review addressed the operations of the act over the last five years. This included the events of the 2019-20 bushfire season. In doing so, the review considered the

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