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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3030 ..

Uriarra settlement

MRS BURKE: Mr Speaker, my question through you is to Mr Wood as the minister for emergency services-or perhaps I should say more currently, non-emergency services. Minister, on Tuesday 19 August 2003 I met with residents of the Uriarra settlement to discuss the McLeod report and the recently released "Shaping our territory"non-urban study. Given the government's recent public statements and confident boasts of its preparedness for this fire season, and despite the fact that our next fire season is now less than six weeks away, can you please explain why the burnt, dead trees and other similar debris have still not been cleared away from around these residents' homes and surrounding areas? Can you explain why no strategic firefighting education plan has yet been developed for these people? Can you explain why the recently installed fire equipment is, according to the residents, totally inadequate, with hoses that do not even reach large sections of structures and residents receiving no instruction on their use? Can you explain why there is still not adequate street lighting at Uriarra?

MR WOOD: I will try to remember all the parts of that long list. Clean-up: there has been, to the best of my knowledge, some clean-up at Uriarra. Mrs Burke suggests that some remains to be done. I will talk to officers about that and see what further needs to be done and what needs to be done urgently.

Street lighting: the standard of street lighting has not been the best for quite a long time. I will talk to DUS or I will talk to my colleagues to see who can generate some activity there. I would expect that the current standard is not being met at Uriarra, but I will check that.

Mrs Burke spoke about fire equipment. There has been some work done there. You tell me that the hoses are not long enough.

Mrs Burke: No, the residents have told me and I am passing it on to you.

MR WOOD: Okay, if they are not long enough we will have to have a second look at that. I didn't make a note of another one or two-

Mrs Burke: Firefighting education plan.

MR WOOD: An education plan. That would have once been simple to do at Uriarra because there were a lot of experienced firefighters there. In the circumstances, I do not know whether there are too many of them left, but I will talk to the Emergency Services Bureau about that. There is a deal of activity going on around the place, and I will see that Uriarra is incorporated into that.

MRS BURKE: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Minister, thank you for that explanation. Given this lackadaisical approach, it would seem, when will the government and you, as the minister, drop the rhetoric and simply just get on with the job and do something for these people at Uriarra?

MR WOOD: That is just an assertion-it is not a question.

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