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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 2815 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

they have been proactive. Contingency planning by the emergency services has been extensive and we on this side of politics salute their diligence and professionalism, as I am sure does everybody else in this chamber.

That was the view of the Liberal Party seven weeks before the fires. I end the debate on this note:

In short, the emergency services have done about as much as they can possibly do.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Appropriation Bill 2003-2004 (No 2)

Mr Quinlan, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and supplementary budget papers.

Title read by acting clerk.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, and Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming) (5.38): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, I present the Appropriation Bill 2003-2004 (No 2). The bill provides for an increase in appropriation of $28.046 million. This Appropriation Bill is necessary for a number of reasons. Firstly, it provides the financial resources to support the government's immediate response to the McLeod inquiry. Secondly, this bill provides additional capacity in relation to other bushfire requirements not directly related to McLeod. Thirdly, the bill provides funding for a number of recently agreed enterprise bargaining agreements.

The government made provision for these at the time of the 2003-04 budget. It now needs to appropriate funding, given that negotiations have concluded. So it is an appropriation bill, not a budgeting bill, for the benefit of members. Finally, this bill is necessary to ensure transparency in government decision-making in relation to the allocation of financial resources. It is important that the Assembly has an opportunity to scrutinise decisions involving major resource allocations. I turn, first, to the response to the McLeod inquiry. Members would be aware of the inquiry conducted by the former Commonwealth Ombudsman, Mr Ron McLeod. Mr McLeod provided his report to the government on Friday 1 August 2003.

In releasing the report on Monday 4 August, the government indicated its intention and commitment to implement all 61 recommendations in the report as quickly as possible. As part of that commitment a formal government response to the McLeod report has also been tabled today. The report's recommendations range from some immediate measures to be better prepared for the next bushfire season to longer term structural issues. This supplementary appropriation bill provides for increased capacity, both in personnel and in equipment on the ground, and a comprehensive community information and education campaign.

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