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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (22 April) . . Page.. 1225 ..

MR SMYTH: It is very important that we do these jobs properly. Mr Hargreaves, in putting unreasonable timelines on demanding reports, should take into account that the work required is of a technical nature and a complicated nature and that it involves consultation with all the parties involved. Some time ago, Mr Thurston and Mr Gill from Road User Services arranged an appointment with the principals of both St Clare's and St Edmund's colleges. That appointment occurred yesterday. I understand from the meeting that the principals, at an initial look anyway, were pleased with what we have offered and will look at it in depth to make sure that it meets the needs of the schools. Further to that, we will have to go out to the broader community because it will involve some changes that will affect the community. Mr Speaker, yet again the Government takes these things seriously. We work on them and we gather the data. We do not go off half-cocked, as Mr Hargreaves does so often. I would have to say, Mr Speaker, that I am quite willing to supply the sauce when Mr Hargreaves eats his words. As they say in Aussie rules parlance, to quote Mr Hargreaves, "I'd like to see that".

Sydney Hailstorm

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (6.09), in reply: Mr Speaker, to close this long debate, I want to inform the Assembly of the significant contribution by Canberrans to the recovery effort in Sydney following last week's devastating storm. Unlike Mr Berry, I would like to talk about the efforts of all those from Canberra who went to Sydney to help, not merely those who are paid employees, worthy though their contribution has been. So far, some 56 volunteers from the ACT Emergency Service and 33 firefighters from the ACT Fire Brigade have assisted in recovery operations. It is estimated that over 20,000 homes or unit blocks have suffered storm damage from the hailstorm which struck Sydney. The ACT's commitment will substantially increase over the next few days. Recovery coordinators in Sydney are seeking to maximise the effort over the course of this weekend to mop up as much of the damage as possible. Another task force, consisting of 56 members of the ACT Emergency Service and Rural Fire Service, will leave early tomorrow morning and a further task force from the ACT Fire Brigade will tomorrow replace the team which left last night.

Mr Speaker, the ACT's commitment to this recovery operation will stand at over 150 people, although some will be counted twice in that number because some will be going back tomorrow after working there earlier this week. The commitment to this recovery operation exceeds the commitment made to Sydney during the 1994 and 1997 bushfires and it is the largest cross-border emergency operation undertaken since the Thredbo landslide in 1997.

The ACT task forces have been praised by the New South Wales State Emergency Service coordinators for their hard work, their commitment and their outstanding training. Indeed, members of the ACT task forces were asked to take on the leadership of teams from the New South Wales SES and Rural Fire Service during recovery operations. In particular, the work of the ACT Emergency Service has been undertaken in Mascot and Botany and the ACT Fire Brigade has undertaken some delicate, high-risk recovery operations on high-rise buildings or on steep ground in west Randwick, Kensington and Maroubra. As we have all probably seen on television in the last few

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