Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (16 November) . . Page.. 3528 ..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
deleted and the provisions are watered down and incorporated into the Emergency Services Act, as it then will be, to suit the convenience of the management of the Emergency Services Bureau.
I believe this is a good report. I think the committee has picked the issues fairly quickly and made very sensible recommendations. The only difference between the two committees that we have addressed - the Emergency Management Committee and the Management Executive - was the exclusion of the Chief Health Officer on the second committee. The recommendation is that you include that person on the committee. There is, therefore, no need for two committees and two bureaucracies. This should also eliminate the possibility of a misunderstanding.
I very strongly support the provision of the ACT Chief Police Officer as the permanent Territory Controller. The Minister's appointment of an officer as the ACT Chief Police Officer ought to remove any problems which may occur between the ACT Government and the Federal Government over the deployment of resources. I cannot for the life of me see an event which would cause that, and I think we should worry about that when and if it arises. The most consistent attendance at a declared emergency is the police. It does not matter what the disaster is; if it is a declared one, there is always the presence of the police. There is not always the presence of some of the other people on that committee. So it is most important that that go on.
Finally, when we were doing the considerations for this, the Government ran the furphy that we needed to get on with it really quickly because of the Y2K compliance problem. We were told of all sorts of provisions in this Bill which needed to be enacted before Y2K could be satisfied; for example, the provision for search and entry into premises in the case of a wholesale disaster, traffic lights not working; people's heaters falling over because of computers not working; and ticketing in buses not working. What a blow that would be! Bring on the Y2K in that case, if bus ticketing does not work.
That was an absolute furphy and it was not necessary. It has nothing to do with this Bill. The briefing that we received from the officers enabled us - and I am sure Mr Hird will agree - to feel quite comfortable about the actions which the Government has taken in preparation for Y2K. However, it was a furphy to introduce that issue in the consideration of this Bill. I commend this report to the Assembly.
MR HIRD (10.48): As I recall, it was mentioned during committee hearings that other jurisdictions throughout Australia have emergency management legislation. The Minister responsible argued that we do not have it. I would like to thank my colleagues on the committee, the secretary and those witnesses who submitted both written and verbal evidence to the committee.
I raised concerns in the committee about two issues. Those concerns appear under item 31 at page 8 and under item 67 at page 18. The two concerns that I had related to the Chief Police Officer not being under the control of the Minister responsible in this parliament. The Chief Police Officer comes directly under the Commissioner of Police, who is a federal appointee. There may be at some time in the future - as has happened in the past - some conflict as to who is giving evidence or who will take evidence on