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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 176 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

We need to set in place an approach that tackles this issue calmly and scientifically. The simple dictum of W, W, W, W, H and W-or who, what, when, where, how and why-needs to be applied. The best way to do this is through a single inquiry established under the terms of reference included in this motion.

This is not meant to be an exercise in blame laying and finger pointing. I do not think any of us believe that that would be productive. I believe that all of us in this place believe that our emergency workers performed above and beyond the call of duty in fighting the fire.

As I said, this motion is about facts. It is also about learning lessons. Members will note the tight timeframes included in the motion. These tight timeframes are designed to enable us to learn the lessons in a timely way. The first deadline is to enable those engaged in the reconstruction to apply the lessons to the rebuilding effort. The second deadline is to enable our emergency services to apply the lessons to the next bushfire season. The final deadline allows for a complete and comprehensive report to be digested by the community, the government and us as members.

I am sure the Chief Minister will say the inquiry I have proposed would cost too much. The bushfires have already cost too much. As an aside, I understand that our insurance will go a considerable way in covering the cost of any inquiries.

I am sure that once I'I have e finished speaking, the Chief Minister will stand up and tell us that this motion is redundant because he has established his own inquiry. That is not the case. The Chief Minister has established a review. Yes, it has an independent head of unimpeachable integrity, but that is not the point. The Chief Minister has simply outsourced his review.

We are to have a review of what has happened. But also announced today in the Canberra Times is not one but three separate studies-a study of future land use in various outer suburbs affected by the bushfires, a study of ACT forests and a study of the possibility of residential land use on Stromlo.

These are all important issues, but why would you have three separate studies, a review and a coronial inquiry when you can wrap all of them up into one integrated, comprehensive inquiry? Why can we not have a single, coordinated approach with three distinct and purposeful reporting dates, rather than the higgledy-piggledy approach of a range of studies?

The Chief Minister's review will not necessarily allow for public submissions. The Chief Minister said yesterday that he thought it would, but it was by no means certain at that stage and he was checking it. We are grateful for that. His review will not apply the rules of evidence.

Mr Cornwell: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. I feel that this is a very important matter, and I think members can show a little more concern. I am not calling a quorum, because a quorum is present, but I think my point should be noted.

MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order, Mr Cornwell.

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