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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (20 August) . . Page.. 2950 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

anything to be alarmed about. That was the report of an experienced bushfire fighting pilot, our pilot. At 1.30 pm he could not see what there was to be unduly alarmed about, yet we are having a rewriting of all this history from the benefit of experience of the past six months.

This motion is cheap. We will not support it. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The Chief Minister's time has expired.

MS DUNDAS (4.30): I have circulated an amendment but, after listening to the debate today, I will not be moving that amendment. I could not support a censure today of the government in relation to the bushfires. I think that would be unnecessary and, to a certain extent, uncalled for. I would like to see the coroner's report into the 2003 bushfires before arriving at these kinds of conclusions. I think that that information needs to come through before that aspect of the debate can continue.

To address paragraphs (5), (6) and (7) of the motion, this morning we had a very long debate about the motion moved by Mr Pratt in November 2002. I have read Hansard from the beginning of that debate to the very end and I cannot find why it has ignited such passion. The motion was supported by the Assembly, as amended by the government. We all agreed in that debate that bushfire education was needed. The specifics of that debate, though, related to arson attacks and educating our children about the dangers of playing with fire.

I raised a question during that debate about the number of fires that are started in and around the ACT by arson versus naturally occurring events and the statistics were not available, but the statistics that I could find in relation to other places in Australia indicated that only 14 per cent, I think, of the major fire incidents were started by arson.

The whole debate that was raging this morning about who told whom what and when and who did not listen to whom whenever actually missed the point of the 2003 bushfire incident, which was started by a storm. There were four lightning strikes across the valleys. Lightning strikes in Victoria sparked the major fire incidents of January 2003. I said then, and I will say it again, that bushfire education is important, fire education is important, but there are programs in place already for that to happen, so I do not think that it is something about which we should be censuring the government.

I turn to paragraph (6) of this motion, concerning the failure of the government to implement recommendation 95 of the recommendations of the debriefs of the 2001 Stromlo fire. As I said yesterday, the McLeod report discussed a number of reports that have been written over the last 20 years relating to bushfires in the ACT and how to manage them. Not all the recommendations of all of those reports were implemented by government. In some cases, I am glad that not all of those recommendations were implemented.

The point is that the move to censure the government over one recommendation fails to take account of what I said yesterday, that is, that the many things that led to the January 18 bushfires had been building up over 20 years at least and we cannot

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