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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 November 2021) . . Page.. 3187 ..

findings of the many reviews of that period, including the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, the report on the ACT government’s coordination and response during the 2019-20 bushfire season, the ACT Emergency Services Agency Operational Review of the Bushfire Season 2019/20, and the report of the ACT Legislative Assembly Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety on the review of the ACT Emergency Services responses to the 2019-20 bushfire season.

I would like to thank all persons and organisations that contributed to the review. I appreciate their commitment to ensuring that the ACT emergency management arrangements are of the highest order. The report’s overall conclusion was that the act was appropriately meeting its objectives. It also found that the act operates to facilitate the protection and preservation of life, property and the environment so far as possible.

The report did, however, identify a number of areas where the operation of the act could be improved. These recommendations have been adopted and progressed through this bill. An important amendment made by the bill is to create a legislative power to appoint an ACT recovery coordinator. The ACT recovery subplan provides that if the scale or nature of the emergency is such that a number of different ACT government directorates and agencies are needed to undertake recovery activities, a recovery coordinator will be appointed to coordinate recovery efforts across the ACT, as well as in the community and private sectors.

The recovery coordinator is responsible for ensuring recovery planning, coordination, and stakeholder engagement. The recovery coordinator also has the important responsibility of determining the most effective way to deliver recovery services to affected communities. The review noted that there is no reference to the ACT recovery coordinator in ACT legislation. Given the important role of the recovery coordinator, the review recommended that the role be specifically referred to in legislation.

The increased focus on the importance of recovery in the emergency management sector is reflected in the comprehensive approach to emergency management, which refers to prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.

Responsibility for all aspects of emergency management, including recovery, is shared between governments, individuals, industry and communities. However, while all of these sectors have responsibilities, the responsibilities may not be shared equally. It is vital that the government lead in determining and coordinating the most effective way to inform and deliver recovery services to affected communities. This important role will be undertaken by the ACT recovery coordinator.

This bill recognises this vital role by providing the minister with the power to appoint someone as the recovery coordinator where the scale or nature of an emergency requires a recovery operation involving different territory agencies. The recovery coordinator will coordinate recovery efforts across the ACT government, community sector and private sector; coordinate the provision of essential services to

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