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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (5 March) . . Page.. 510 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

into the cause, origin and circumstances of the fires which destroyed and damaged property in January 2003 and Inquests into the deaths associated with those fires.

The Coroner has legal authority to examine all aspects of these matters, including powers to:

Hold public hearings into the fires and deaths;

Require witnesses to appear to give evidence and/or produce documents;

Cause expert and any other relevant reports to be prepared or produced; &

Make any finding and recommendations relevant to the fires and/or deaths.

The Coroner must report the findings of the Inquiry and Inquests in writing and may make interim findings, including any comment on matters relating to public health or safety.

The Coroner-

that is, the person heading this judicial inquiry-

is now calling for written information and submissions from the public on any relevant issue or event associated with the January Bushfire Emergency that may be material to this Inquiry-

that is, to this judicial inquiry-

The purpose of calling for submissions is to assist in identifying:

1. any specific and/or general issues to be further examined during the inquiry-

that is, the judicial inquiry-

2. any person or organisation who may seek leave to appear before the Inquiry-

that is, the judicial inquiry currently being held-

The invitation is open to any person, and particularly those who have not already had contact with the Coroner's Special Investigation Team.

The advertisement then gives information and details on where to make that contact or to submit those submissions. That is currently under way in the ACT. We have had the Liberal Party-don't tell me that this is not the cheapest politics imaginable-two sitting days in a row wanting another judicial inquiry into these very same matters in relation to which we currently have a judicial inquiry running, a judicial inquiry which will cost us, and at this stage we are only guessing, between $1 million and $2 million. It will cost us between $1 million and $2 million. I am prepared to bet now that it will be closer to $2 million than $1 million.

It will take between 15 months and two years to complete. I am betting that it will be closer to two years than 15 months. Indeed, I met yesterday with the Chief Coroner, Ron

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