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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 335 ..

MR PRATT (continuing):

through seeking to create adequate measures and, in the case of our youth, preventative educational programs. I welcome the intention of the government to raise legislation on Thursday and hope that this legislation will meet all of those concerns.

Another concern I have is that in the Tharwa area there are also major questions about bushfire preventative measures and management procedures. These, I believe, need to be examined.

I therefore move to pay tribute to the volunteer firefighters of Brindabella, particularly the Southern brigade and the Guises Creek brigade, as well as the ACT fire services, police, ambulance and other emergency services. Thank God for the volunteer spirit, and thank God for the wonderful community collective spirit that we saw demonstrated over those days.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Pratt, is it your intention to amend the motion? I heard you say you "move".

MR PRATT: No, it is not my intention to move a motion at this point.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Pratt.

MR CORNWELL (12.01): Mr Speaker, if I may briefly join in this motion of thanks. I have a particular thankyou for whoever among the volunteers or urban people held back the fire in the Curtin horse paddocks, which was heading towards Yarralumla, where I am now living behind a brush fence. I do not think my hose would have done very much to stop it. I would like to pay tribute to the work that has been done.

I would also like to elaborate slightly on the comments of my colleague Mr Pratt about the need to control the behaviour of arsonists. I would like to extend that, however, Mr Pratt, to seeking assistance from the bureaucracy, who in a number of cases, in my opinion, have shown perhaps a purist approach.

Mr Pratt mentioned the fire on Red Hill. Those of us who have lived in that area for a long time lamented and regretted the removal of Charlie Russell's cattle from that hill, for the simple reason that they at least kept the grass down. The last time I saw Red Hill before it went up, the grass was almost as high as my chest. The purists may say we should not have cattle up there; we must allow it to go back to its natural native state. Please, could I ask that a bit of commonsense be applied.

We had a similar situation just recently in Sydney, where councils decided that it was a no-no, it was naughty, to take down trees. They are now backing off very quickly as a result of the storm damage that has occurred within their council areas. I do not know whether they are liable, but what I seek is a little bit of commonsense in the approach to this type of thing. Then we will not oblige our volunteers and our urban firefighters, ambulance and police and other people to risk their lives on our behalf in activities such as this. My thanks to them. I hope we can ensure that commonsense prevails, not only in the penalties that are laid down for arson but also in the government approach to trying to reduce the risk of this type of conflagration.

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