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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (18 February) . . Page.. 78 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

It was also recommended that the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal report on the results of matters finalised by them. They are superior courts and do not handle a huge number of matters. Matters which go before them are often large matters, and it would not be difficult to simply list what the matter was and the result thereof.

That is data which the committee was keen to extract. I note that the current Attorney, when he was a shadow, also commented on-and quite rightly so, I think-the need for more information from the court system. So we made that recommendation.

The committee also heard from the Emergency Services Bureau. We went into some detail there, which I will not go through. However, this is timely, especially in light of the tragic bushfires we have had. Ms Tucker might like to speak to that, as she asked what I thought were some very pertinent questions in that regard.

We looked briefly at Corrective Services and, as I have indicated, ACT policing. We found it interesting that the crime prevention programs were not fully utilised during the year. That was an initiative of the former government. Although about $1.28 million was allocated, not all of that was used. Some of the money was returned.

We were interested to see the extent to which police resources could be supported by relevant community organisations in the development and presentation of crime prevention programs. I believe there is some useful stuff there. It is a shame to find that money allocated was not utilised. We thought the community groups could be useful there, and that there was scope to improve liaison in that area.

Finally, Mr Speaker, I commend the report to the Assembly, and I again thank my colleagues on the committee. I also thank Derek Abbott, the committee secretary.

MS TUCKER (12.03): I will take up Mr Stefaniak's invitation to speak briefly on the emergency services questions, and comments in the report. The issue of black spots was raised. We were told by the officials that hand-held radios are a recent innovation and that the fire service is still coming to terms with the problems. That was not a satisfactory answer. Although there are now more hand-held radios given out to personnel, they are certainly not a new innovation. People working in the field have been raising concerns about radio black spots for some time.

The committee has made the comment that they are concerned that insufficient priority has been given, in the upgrading program, to ensuring that firefighters in dangerous situations have the best communications available. Since we had this discussion in the committee, the fires have taken place, so there will obviously be a fuller investigation of those concerns.

The committee made a comment on the fact that there was a large overtime bill incurred by the Emergency Services Bureau because there were not enough permanent employees. It commented that because that situation arose, there could not have been good planning.

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