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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 321 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

However, legislative amendments are required to ensure that the prisoners were lawfully detained in New South Wales between the dates of the original warrant and the dates of the new warrants. The amendments would also ensure that the time served during that period counts towards the total time that each prisoner is required to serve.

The bill achieves this by validating all warrants issued by the Sentence Administration Board since the commencement of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. It will also enable the board to issue valid warrants under the Removal of Prisoners Act in the future, thereby ensuring that this aspect of the ACT's parole system can work in the way that it was originally intended.

The bill also amends the definition of "authorised person" in the Removal of Prisoners Act to include the registrar and the deputy registrar of the Supreme Court, thereby allowing both these officers to issue warrants under the act. The amendment is logical, given that the registrar is responsible for managing the Supreme Court's criminal cases. It will also ensure consistency, given that registrars and deputy registrars of the Magistrates Court and of federal courts are already empowered to issue such warrants.

I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Bushfire volunteers

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Businesses and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections) (11.13): Mr Speaker, I ask for leave to move a motion of thanks to bushfire volunteers.

Leave granted.

MR QUINLAN: Mr Speaker, I move:

That the ACT Legislative Assembly places on record its appreciation of the dedication, professionalism and commitment of all those men and women, particularly the volunteers, who successfully protected the community from the Christmas 2001 bushfires, and records its thanks for the outstanding contribution they have made to the Canberra community and the territory.

Mr Speaker, at about 1.30 pm on 24 December, Christmas Eve, 2001 a number of bushfires started within minutes of each other in the Uriarra Road and Coppins Crossing area. Although the detection by Bushfire Service towers and the fire services response was very quick, the very dry conditions and the extremely strong winds being experienced on that day caused the fires to quickly develop into three major fires threatening rural properties, homesteads and the Stromlo pine plantation. Over a period of two hours on Christmas Eve following the initial fires, separate fires started in the Bruce Ridge area behind the AIS and also at the north-western base of Red Hill.

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