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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 316 ..

MS DUNDAS: I have a supplementary question. Minister, I hope that you will be able to get the information quickly as the program is only eight days away. Would you also be able to provide information on whether students are able to pick up papers on a normal school day. If they are not able to participate in Clean Up Australia Day, which provides its own public liability insurance for the event, can you provide information on why Clean Up Australia Day is being kept out of the ACT government school system?

MS GALLAGHER: I will get that information as soon as I can.

Bushfires-education programs

MR PRATT: My question is for the minister for education. Minister, on Tuesday of this week, my office sought information from your office regarding what fire education programs are planned for the ACT, following reports that a new program was about to begin.

The questions asked were as follows. Can you confirm whether this education program will be annual or one-off for each student? Can you confirm whether this program has started, or when it is due to start? Can you advise us who will be conducting the education program? Can you advise us whether it is a compulsory education program for government schools, or whether it is simply a program being offered to all schools?

Minister, will you answer these questions or take them on notice and commit to providing a response within a reasonable time frame? The copy of the question I have given you will help you answer those six components.

MS GALLAGHER: Thank you for giving this to me, Mr Pratt. Your office did seek this information earlier this week, and I sent back a request that that information come directly to me, which is what you are doing now.

The questions are based on the fact that there will be a new program of bushfire education in schools. My understanding is that no decision has been made about a specific new bushfire education program in schools. I can give you some detail of what is currently happening in schools and has been ongoing for many years.

The fire brigade currently delivers fire education in schools-a fire safety program delivered to kindergarten, some year 1s and children across primary schools. It is primarily aimed at fires in the home, but it does not distinguish between fires and bushfires because the level of education at that point is about fire activity-if there is-and whether the supervision of an adult is needed with those children. The aim of the program at that stage is to instruct students to stop, drop and roll and the correct use of 000 as an emergency phone number to contact. This program is delivered in conjunction with teachers as part of existing curricula.

There is another program, which is aimed at very young people-between the ages of three to 16-who have engaged in dangerous firelighting behaviour. The focus of that program is to encourage children to gain a greater respect for fire through education and awareness and also to understand the consequences of the misuse of fire.

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