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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (20 August) . . Page.. 2905 ..

MR PRATT (continuing):

... but it is the easiest of politics, even though something is happening, to say, "Let's have some more,"and we have seen some pretty easy and lazy politics.

He then goes on to say:

Of course, with the drought that we have, the season is on us effectively before expected so there is some fast-tracking happening. But certainly the Emergency Services Bureau has been working on a public education program. It is not just for kids; it is for the whole family. It is for people who are out and about and see suspicious activity and say that they should err on the side of conservatism and the side of safety and report it.

Mr Speaker, the important component of that comment from Mr Quinlan was "the Emergency Services Bureau has been working on a public education program". Well, what the hell happened to it? I do not recall in 2002 ever seeing a public education program that was more impressive or more superior than any other education program I had seen in previous years.

Here is Mr Quinlan talking about an education program which he thought the Emergency Services Bureau were onto. That is incorrect. He, talking about that, clearly did not follow through-ministerial breakdown-and did not ensure that such a program was put in place.

If this government is going to repeat statements to the effect that the community was complacent or in denial about the danger of bushfire, it only has itself to blame as it failed in its duty of care to implement bushfire education programs. The government was not only warned by this recommendation, recommendation 95, about the importance of public education; it was constantly reminded by the opposition throughout 2002.

Leading up to the 2003 bushfire season, I frequently asked the government what arrangements had been put in place for a schools education campaign on bushfires and, in letters and other comments and in questions without notice, I asked what other education programs were available in the community. All of these were brushed off ignorantly. Most of the recommendations that, in early August, Mr Wood claimed to have implemented failed to include those of integral importance to the community, highlighting the government's complacency and, again, its denial.

Mr Speaker, I ask members to look at the whole of my speech from 13 November 2002 and then look at the government's reaction. They laughed and they mocked at the idea of school education, but they did not act. Let me quote from Mr Corbell's response to those calls for an integrated education system:

Mr Pratt's motion is unwarranted, it is uninformed and it is unnecessary. The government has the issue in hand and there is a range of programs already in place actively educating our children and young people about the dangers of fires.

Then he went on to say, "The government will not be supporting the motion in its current form."We know that there was no universal education program in schools.

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