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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (12 March) . . Page.. 989 ..

MRS BURKE (continuing):

my motion. I thank Ms Dundas for her comments about setting up a program to address a need, and this is what we are about.

Mr Speaker, we have heard in this place that we have a prime opportunity to learn and grow from the recent bushfires. Does there have to be any case for such a program to be established? Why don't we think wiser now rather than, pardon the pun, putting out the fires when they take place? Can't we set in train something that will actually be of use and value if ever anything like this happens again? Was not lack of foresight the problem before?

I put it to you that I think the reason that Mr Wood is getting upset-and I would suggest at this stage that he is unable or not willing to carry out my proposal-is that he is a little bit miffed at me for not going through his office. I would have to say I have been given much help from Mr Wood's office on many occasions. But on many other occasions I go round in ever-increasing circles trying to get answers. I am not blaming anybody. It is tight out there and the situation is hard. I am just saying that I do not run to the Minister every time there is an issue. Surely I can stand on my own two feet and try to help constituents if they do not like the answers they are getting from the Minister's office. I can go ahead and try to pursue such matters on their behalf. After all, I am a member in my own right.

I would ask that members please consider my motion again. My motion would ensure that people are protected if, God forbid, another natural disaster ever hits Canberra. I again apologise if I have upset or offended Mr Wood in any way.

Mr Wood: No.

MRS BURKE: Well, your attitude does not indicate that. I am just saying to you that I apologise. But when I do not get a satisfactory answer, I must pursue the matter vigorously; I must protect the constituents out there. Certainly people at Uriarra, Stromlo and other places have been badly affected and disaffected. The minister is able but obviously unwilling to take this step. Despite what Mr Quinlan says, I think this it is a perfectly decent course to take. In any case, you do not have to evoke or use such a measure should another natural disaster occur.

Mr Quinlan, if we are talking about gaining brownie points, surely it would be a feather in the Minister's cap if such a program were established. So let us forget that, shall we. This is not an end of the day thing-it is something that I am passionate about and dear to my heart. Although I have given you one case, I did not need to give you any. Mr Quinlan can touch his heart-I am sorry to see that this is so amusing to him.

I just do not think the Minister's argument is good enough. He cannot stand there and say I do not have a case. We are trying to be preventative; we do not want to be running to the bureaucrats. I think you love your public servants, as I do, Mr Quinlan, so what is wrong with engaging some useful and intelligent people in this type of work? I thank members for participating in this debate and I urge them to support my motion.

Question put:

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