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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 186 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

The government will be commissioning a small expert multidisciplinary study on the sustainable development of the non-urban areas which have been affected by the bushfires. The study needs to consider the best use of land for the development of the territory and the impacts on infrastructure and on adjacent areas. It needs to consider a wide range of land uses, including native landscapes, nature parks, recreational uses, river corridors, softwood and hardwood forests, agriculture, and recreational uses. Rural uses, including rural settlement development, and community involvement will be integrated into the study and will be part and parcel of the study.

For each option, the social, environmental and economic implications-including servicing costs, government financial constraints, potential revenues and other benefits-will have to be taken into account. The study will form an expert input into the development of the Canberra plan and it will be subject to further consultation before it is finalised.

The government's approach to all these important issues is sound and appropriate. It makes best use of our resources to ensure all required issues are fully and thoroughly examined and can be properly responded to in the most beneficial and timely way.

In contrast, I think the opposition's approach is not integrated. It is proposing a process that does not complement but essentially duplicates, if not runs in opposition to, the coronial inquiry. The proposed inquiry would require examination of every conceivable issue relating to bushfires and a range of other matters, including issues around water and the water catchment, that do not need to be part and parcel of an investigation into the fires and are much better the subject of separate processes.

The government is open to these inquiries. The government wants these inquiries. We want all the questions asked. We want all the questions answered. We want the community to have faith in its emergency services capacity and capability. The last thing we want is an emergency services capability or capacity that is not able to meet the needs of the community. Secondly, we do not want the community to have nagging doubts about the capacity or capability of our emergency services. It is not in anybody's interests. It is not in the government's interests. To the extent that this government has been in office for one year after seven years of Liberal government, I do not think it is particularly in the interests of the previous government for circumstances that were very much part and parcel of its stewardship to be persisted with into perpetuity if they are not what we would want.

Mrs Dunne: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. It is an outrageous imputation by the Chief Minister that the members of the opposition, the Liberal Party, would be afraid to have anything revealed; that the previous government had not done the right thing. This is what it is all about. The idea of an inquiry is to bring out the truth. We are not afraid of the truth. This is an outrageous imputation, and it should be withdrawn.

MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order, Mrs Dunne.

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