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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (18 February) . . Page.. 82 ..

MR STANHOPE: The government is committed to the recovery of Canberra. We are committed to the recovery as it affects each individual personally and directly affected and the community at large, to the extent that significant community infrastructure and community facilities have also been seriously damaged or destroyed.

It is important to be aware that we are concerned about both the physical recovery of property and infrastructure, to the extent we can achieve that, and the need for the community to recover its health, its wellbeing and its sense of community. We need all individuals traumatised or badly affected to recover within themselves.

When we talk about recovery, we talk about not just the restoration of the infrastructure-the physical face, the homes, the buildings, the roads, the equipment and all the buildings that were destroyed-but also the recovery that so many individuals are now seeking to achieve for themselves in their health, their balance and, for many, their psychological state.

I commend all those involved in our emergency management arrangements. From the moment of the disaster on the 18th, disaster relief and disaster control arrangements that had been put in place and that had been well practised slipped very easily into gear. The immediate response was absolutely fantastic. It is a credit to the ACT public service, it is a credit to all those people involved in the recovery process and the response to the emergency, and it is a credit to all of our community organisations and the many individuals who are part and parcel of them.

The recovery commenced at that moment and, in a formal sense, with the establishment of the community recovery centre in Launceston Street, Lyons, on 24 January, just six days after the fire. To date over 1,000 households have registered for assistance at the centre, and the following services are available at the centre: the disaster relief grants program; emergency assistance for food, clothing, and temporary accommodation; insurance advice; Bovis Lend Lease arrangements for clearance of blocks; PALM; personal support; professional counselling; Centrelink; and application to the Canberra Community Foundation bushfire recovery appeal.

In relation to specific financial relief provided as part of the recovery, I am pleased that the government was able to respond with the announcement of a number of grants packages. They included a $5,000 assistance package for all householders who are owner/occupiers or renters in the ACT whose homes are uninhabitable. It provides a contribution to replace essential household and personal items; a further $5,000, to a total of $10,000, for those who do not have household contents insurance; grants for eligible houses or community properties to cover the costs of a standard demolition for the uninsured; and up to $5,000 to assist with costs of site clearance for the insured.

The site clearance arrangement, being project managed by Bovis Lend Lease, commenced yesterday. As of today, over 50 households have contracted with Bovis Lend Lease for the clearance of their blocks. We are anticipating the letting of up to another 200 contracts for clearance of blocks.

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