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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (20 August) . . Page.. 2952 ..

MS DUNDAS (continuing):

the words "in principle"and some other paragraphs about the actual implementation of the recommendations and how the government was considering all of the 61 recommendations of the McLeod report. It was actually disappointing to see those being removed from the government's response. I think we do need to take the time to get this right, as I said yesterday.

I am happy to support paragraphs (2), (3) and (4) of this motion. I believe that the government's response to the bushfires through the recovery centre and the task force definitely has been commendable, but I believe that the point of these paragraphs is to get more information about future planning. Of course the Chief Minister should be briefed daily on the recovery process, but the Assembly needs to receive information as well. The briefings run by the task force have been helpful, but getting some information on the public record, as this motion calls for, is an important aspect of the ongoing debate about the future resources and economic management of this territory as we continue to deal with the outcomes of the bushfire emergencies that have hit our city over the last three or four years.

In terms of the education discussion, we know that prior to the January bushfires few households took notice of the need to clean out their gutters, look at untrimmed trees or be concerned about their proximity to bushland. That message certainly has been received loud and clear by every member of the community now. But there were messages reaching the government before the fires that should have made them aware that more targeted bushfire education was necessary for Canberra residents.

The advertisements that Mr Quinlan spoke of this morning were about arson attacks and did not actually provide any information on how to be prepared; they just asked, "Are you prepared?"Yes, there was some awareness raising of the dangers of fires but not how to deal with them. One thing that we have definitely learned over the last number of years, and specifically from January of this year, is how to refocus our educational communication about being ready for bushfires and being prepared for summer in Canberra.

I hope that this motion will be voted on in parts, because there are some parts of it that I think are very pertinent and should be supported; but, as I have said, the censuring of this government is, at this stage, uncalled for.

MR STEFANIAK (4.40): Mrs Burke, leaning over my shoulder, just made a good point: regardless of anything, at the end of the day the buck does have to stop somewhere. In this instance, it does have to stop with the government of the day.

Having listened to this debate, I would find it very difficult to understand how people could not possibly support the first four paragraphs of this motion, especially after what Mr Stanhope said in relation to them. I would naturally assume that the Assembly, being the assembly that it is, will support them.

I have never seen a government agree to censure itself and I can understand why the government would never support paragraphs (5) to (7). I am well aware, having been in the Assembly for many years, that quite often the government of the day-we certainly did-will accept obvious, sensible, non-controversial parts of a motion.

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