Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 2814 ..
MR TUCKER : Under standing order 47 I seek leave to speak again.
MS TUCKER: Mrs Dunne claimed earlier that I had misrepresented her. I need to set the record straight. Mrs Dunne wrote in her article:
First, for Greens (and many mere greenies), human beings are not part of "the environment". It's not just a case of preferring trees to people; human considerations just don't go in the same ledger as "environmental"issues. Deliberate burning, like logging, is "just wrong", and that's all there is to it.
I was surprised when I read that statement. I was also surprised when I read her statement that Senator Bob Brown had gone public with a flat rejection of hazard reduction burning in any form. That is untrue.
MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs) (5.34), in reply: I thank members for their contribution to debate on the McLeod report-an extremely important and good report which provides a framework for the community to respond to many issues. The government is to be commended for being open and amenable to learning the lessons that are there to be learnt. We commissioned a report and said, "Look hard at how we responded to the fires on 18 January. Point out to us where we failed and where we might have done better and advise us on how to improve our response and better protect this community."It is a good, rigorous and tough report that contains a number of painful lessons for us all.
We are determined to ensure that we do not again face a disaster or catastrophe of that order. As I have said before, we are responding to these issues. The Treasurer is waiting anxiously to introduce an appropriation bill that will provide significant additional funds-millions of additional dollars-to ensure that we are better prepared, better educated and better trained. The recurring theme that was evident in the contributions of all members throughout this debate was the need for us to consult around a new structure and to make new organisational arrangements for the Emergency Services Bureau.
I explained in detail today that this government has every intention of doing that. It is committed to consulting fully with all stakeholders. This has been a good debate on a good report that I am sure we will hear more about. Finally, I defer to the views expressed by members of the Liberal Party about our preparations for last season and I share the sentiments expressed by Mr Pratt on behalf of the Liberal Party opposition. As Mr Quinlan said earlier, Mr Pratt, as Liberal Party spokesperson, made this statement seven weeks before the 18 January disaster. It is interesting to see how those views changed after the fires. I am happy to conclude this debate with the words uttered by Mr Pratt seven weeks before the bushfire disaster. He said:
I believe that all ACT residents can be satisfied that our emergency services have done all that they can possibly do to prepare for this dangerous season.
Our bushfire and urban brigades have been out and about for months backburning and preparing the field. The fire units have been most willing and