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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 2226 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

So as far as Floriade and CTEC are concerned, Floriade runs the risk of significant damage as a result of the Government's refusal to accept two recommendations that the Floriade fee be dropped for this time around. It would have been sensible to move in that direction. In any event, Mr Speaker, notwithstanding the silly decisions in relation to the Floriade fee, I have urged all Canberrans to get behind it. We are stuck with it. Floriade is far too important now for us to abandon it, and Labor is right behind it. We have always respected Floriade's contribution to the ACT and the effort of everybody that has gone towards putting on the Floriade festival. The problem we have to face, of course, is this silly fee and the way that it was dumped on the ACT.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The member's time has expired.

Debate interrupted.

Mr Humphries: I require that the adjournment debate be extended by 10 minutes.

MR SPEAKER: I will adjourn the debate at 5.40 pm. That comes under standing order 34. It is only in terms of your being able to respond, Minister.

Mr Moore: I think Mr Corbell wants to say something.

MR SPEAKER: The debate may be extended to allow the Minister to respond to any matters, but other members cannot speak after 5.30 pm.

Fire Services : Casino Premium : Rescue Helicopter Service

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (5.31), in reply: Mr Speaker, there are a couple of things I want to put on the record. I was asked a question today about Fire Brigade staffing levels and I have received some advice which I will relay to the Assembly. The current establishment for the ACT Fire Brigade is 297, comprising both front-line operational firefighters and staff occupying support and administrative functions. The brigade is operating currently at an actual staffing level of 285. There is a shortfall of 12 firefighters. That is caused by natural attrition since the last recruiting process. The Fire Brigade is maintaining full operational efficiency with the current staffing level and there is absolutely no reduction in the service to the community. The roster pattern allows for staff on rostered days off to cover the vacancies on overtime. It is therefore fairly clear that there is not a requirement to bring the brigade up to the full 297 positions. Nonetheless, recruitment processes have been begun under this Government and we will continue to make sure that young recruits are brought into the Fire Brigade over time.

Mr Berry: Will you stick to your $500,000 promise?

MR HUMPHRIES: And women, if it is possible to recruit them as well, Mr Speaker.

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