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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (16 November) . . Page.. 3529 ..

MR HIRD (continuing):

matters that may arise out of an emergency situation or out of a direction given either by the Minister responsible in this place or by the Minister responsible in another place on the hill.

I took issue with that. I raised my concerns with my colleagues, and that is identified under item 31. It is a question on which the chairman did spend some time. It may well occur until such times as we have our own directly appointed police officer or the ability to appoint our Senior Chief Police Officer. I believe this matter will overshadow the appointment of the Chief Police Officer as the Territory Controller trying to serve two masters. I must say to the credit of Mr Daryl Williams, the Federal Attorney-General, and Mr Gary Humphries, the ACT Attorney-General, that their respective staffs are trying resolve this problem. I commend them for that. I hope that in the long term this will not be a problem.

The other concern that I voiced was that of separate legislation for ambulance services. Members will recall that ambulance services were under the ACT fire brigade legislation in the early part of the Territory's history and then under ACT police legislation. It has been under a series of areas and has had a series of masters. This Bill would qualify and identify ambulance services as an emergency component of the emergency services. I firmly believe ambulance services should come directly under and remain part of the Emergency Management Bill. However, other members of the committee disagreed with me.

I did not take the opportunity of putting in a dissenting report. I just raised these as concerns for members. I daresay when they read the report of our standing committee - which is an excellent report - they will take into consideration those points that I have raised. Apart from that, I commend the report to all members because it has been well prepared by the secretariat and by the chairman, who handled the situation very well.

We were briefed on the Y2K problems, as my colleague Mr Hargreaves indicated. It is pleasing to know that, if there is a problem, we can look to the New Zealand community. It is there that the Y2K bug will strike first. I urge members to support Report No. 5 on the Emergency Management Bill 1998 by the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety and to take in those two concerns of mine.

MR OSBORNE: I seek leave to speak again, Mr Speaker.

Leave granted.

MR OSBORNE: I think it is important that we do acknowledge that Mr Hird raised that briefing from the department on the Y2K contingency. I have to say on behalf of the committee that I think we were all very impressed with the level of preparedness. I would like to thank the Minister and his officers for providing the briefing. We are all pleased it is going to happen in New Zealand first. They have had a pretty bad run in the last couple of months, Mr Speaker, so we will not rub it in.

Debate (on motion by Mr Humphries ) adjourned.

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