Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 328 ..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
and their families. I think this is something that has come from the community, and I am glad to see that the government has embraced it.
I would also urge the government to embrace the notion I have written to the minister about: the possibility of instituting a campaign medal for volunteer bushfire fighters to mark particularly bad years of fire. I hope that the minister may take up that suggestion and use it as another way of paying tribute to volunteers who put their life on the line. Give them something more than just a warm feeling and a barbecued sausage.
While these people are volunteers and are not professional in the sense that they get paid for it, that does not mean they lack the skills to do the job which they do with extreme commitment and dedication because it is good for the community. What better example do we find of social capital at work than people training on the weekends, giving up time with their families, and on major festivals like Christmas giving up time with their families to fight fires and, as the minister said, do the dirty, thankless task of mopping up afterwards.
In addition, I would like to pay tribute to the staff of Urban Parks and Places, ACT Forests and the ACT Ambulance Service, to the great icon of Canberra, the SouthCare helicopter, whose participation was extremely important and to the interstate volunteers from Yass, the Southern Highlands and the Victorian Country Fire Authority who assisted.
Fire causes great loss and is a very frightening and threatening thing. I do not know that in my 22 years as a Canberran I have seen fires of the like. I took time to survey some of the fire grounds after my return. If you drive along the parkway or visit Black Mountain, you can see what a scar the fire has made. But we must be thankful that it is a scar of replaceable property; that no lives were lost. What was lost, in the most part, is replaceable.
In conclusion, I note that when the firefighters finished cleaning up here they went to the south coast and helped in the fires at Sussex Inlet, where SouthCare also played a pivotal role in evacuating and water bombing. I thank the staff of the Emergency Services Bureau â people like Mike Castle and Peter Lucas-Smith, who are always on the ground and show consummate professionalism â the Ambulance Service, the police service and particularly the volunteers. It might be romantic and it might be adventurous, but spare a thought for the people who allow their family members to go out and put their life on the line and who just sit and wait at home.
MR WOOD (Minister for Urban Services and Minister for the Arts) (11.31): With the perspective of workers in the Department of Urban Services who were much involved, I rise in support of Mr Quinlan's motion. I too thank the many dedicated firefighters, volunteers and professionals, and all those people who worked behind the scenes and so effectively went about their task over the fire period. It is a measure of the dedication of our firefighters that their festive season arrangements were put on hold, even bypassed, in order to serve the Canberra community.
In keeping with longstanding practice, Urban Services resource two brigades within the ACT bushfire service, with staff from Environment ACT, Canberra Urban Parks and Places, CityScape Services and ACT Forests. To these men and women I extend my