Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 329 ..
MR WOOD (continuing):
sincere gratitude and admiration for a job well done. In total, over 100 Urban Services staff-tasked with firefighting, logistics, administration, and communications control-joined with their volunteer colleagues in what was truly a well-coordinated team effort led by the Emergency Services Bureau.
As Mr Quinlan has mentioned, many of the Christmas fires burnt in areas managed by Urban Services, with the Stromlo pine plantation and the Canberra Nature Park reserves of Bruce Ridge and Red Hill particularly impacted. Bushfire behaviour in those areas was particularly extreme due largely to the dry, windy conditions. It is testimony to our firefighters that the large tracts of land burned did not include damage to homes, and thankfully no serious personal injury resulted.
In the Stromlo Forest, ACT Forests has almost completed work to salvage what pines they are able to, and work has commenced to identify the best way forward with regard to restocking the area. A suitable species replacement program for the Lake Burly Griffin foreshores is also being investigated.
It is gratifying to note that nature is already working to repair the fire damage in Canberra Nature Park. Much of the native vegetation in the ACT can regenerate after fire, and I am advised that after recent good rains dark ash beds have already given way to a carpet of green shoots, something we all see as we drive around those areas.
Nature will need a helping hand, however, particularly with the control of invasive weed species. To this end, Environment ACT has initiated a partnership with local residents to monitor the post-fire return of desirable flora and fauna and to assist with the control of weed species that could take hold in large numbers.
I should make mention of the ongoing program of fire fuel hazard reduction carried out by land managers. Under the fire fuel management plan, Urban Services is dedicated to removing and modifying fire fuels in priority areas over much of the ACT, with a view to reducing the adverse impacts of fires.
Property protection at the Bruce Ridge fire was greatly facilitated by hazard reduction work. Vegetation had been judiciously removed, according to the plan, from behind the Canberra Motor Village earlier in the year. As a result, the work of firefighters in protecting the motor village was made significantly easier. Work continues today in Bruce, Aranda, Kambah and Wanniassa to remove bushfire fuels in the nature reserve where it meets the suburban fringe.
Mr Speaker, with all Canberrans, I extend a vote of thanks to our firefighters and all the organisational and back-up staff, and I commend to the Assembly the efforts of our paid and volunteer firefighters and their support. I look forward in about an hour's time to joining the ceremony in Civic to honour those people.
MS DUNDAS (11.36): I also rise today to add my support to this motion. Here in Canberra we can become complacent in our apparent freedom from natural disasters. However, the recent months have clearly shown just how vulnerable we can be. The Christmas bushfires, followed by the recent quite severe storms, have clearly highlighted just how important our community of paid and unpaid personnel are for the continued protection and safety of Canberra.