Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 November 2021) . . Page.. 3894 ..
as part of the ACT response to bushfire management, as part of the strategy to keep our territory safe.
Cultural burning uses slow burning techniques. They burn at different times of the year, producing less smoke, with the potential of having a reduced impact on the health of residents. Research published in 2021 showed cultural burning had less impact than wildfire on threatened bushlands in areas of New South Wales, where this had been implemented. It was shown to effectively decrease fuel loads in those same areas.
We recognise that Emergency Services and RFS are working with the local Murumbung ranger team within the Aboriginal fire management zones to protect areas and sites of cultural significance using these techniques.
In an estimates hearing this year, the minister stated, in response to a direct question, that cultural burning was not yet a large tool as part of bushfire management. It is disappointing that this is missing from this bill. Hopefully, we will see a more widespread use of cultural burning reflected in the next strategic bushfire management plan, beyond the smaller zones currently identified.
Whilst the bill does not include some details with more foresight suggested in other reports, it does incorporate all of the recommendations of the report of the Review of the Operation of the Emergencies Act 2004. The Canberra Liberals will be supporting the bill today.
MR BRADDOCK (Yerrabi) (4.59): The ACT Greens welcome this bill, which implements the recommendations of the report of the review into the operation of the Emergencies Act 2004 as tabled before this very Assembly. The review covers a period of extreme weather events that tested our community to an unprecedented scale. These included raging bushfires, storms, hail and thick smoke. In talking to this legislation, I would like to state, on behalf of the ACT Greens, my thanks to everyone in ACT Policing and the Emergency Services Agency for their efforts in keeping our community out of harm’s way during this period, in spite of everything nature threw at us.
It was inevitable that, through such a testing period, opportunities for improvement would be identified—not because our response was broken, but because the scale and breadth of issues come new lessons about how the ACT should and must respond. This bill takes into account the lessons learnt by the ACT over recent natural disasters. It enables us to be better prepared. It enables us to respond, to prolong our response capability and to be more resilient. These are all important objectives as more extreme weather events will become our new normal. With the impacts of a changing climate we anticipate more natural disasters; therefore our emergency services need to be in the best position to help the Canberra community.
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) (5.00), in reply: I am pleased to close the in-principle stage of this debate