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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (23 September) . . Page.. 3535 ..

The Assembly voted-

Ayes 8

Noes 7

Mr Cornwell

Mr Pratt

Mr Berry

Mr Quinlan

Mrs Cross

Mr Smyth

Mr Corbell

Mr Stanhope

Ms Dundas

Mr Stefaniak

Ms Gallagher

Mr Wood

Mrs Dunne

Ms Tucker

Mr Hargreaves

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Questions without notice

Fire awareness and education

MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, my question is for the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Mr Wood, the ACT bushfire brigades have been undertaking some community education and awareness raising in regard to bushfires, but the ACT bushfire brigades are being prohibited from entering any suburb where the urban fire service has community fire units in place. Minister, can you explain why the ACT bushfire brigades are being prohibited from conducting their fire awareness and education in suburbs where the urban fire service has community units in place?

MR WOOD: I am not aware that is happening, but I understand the background to it. There is a demarcation: the urban firefighters manage the city area, and the rural firefighters manage the bush area. One of the outcomes of McLeod is that we should blur that somewhat. That situation is historic; it goes back some time. It has not been a policy implementation of this government. It goes back in history, I would think for quite a long time. If under any new structure we plan to develop we can blur some of these demarcations it will be a good thing, and I would be looking to go down that path.

MR PRATT: I am happy to hear about the blurring; it is a good idea. But, Minister, will you commit now to ensuring that ACT bushfire brigade officers are allowed to continue their fire awareness education in all Canberra suburbs, especially in the lead-up to the bushfire season? How far will that blurring go, Minister?

MR WOOD: It depends. There is a background. Past knowledge tells me that the urban firefighters are proud of what they do and believe that they are very competent in managing urban firefighting. Issues between them and the rural bushfire fighters go back some time. We expect to move to a more integrated service, and I think we all agree that that would be a good thing. I cannot tell you exactly at this moment if there are protocols in place or what informal or formal agreements apply, but that is the direction we are moving in to get a more integrated service.

Health action plan

MRS CROSS: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Health Minister, Mr Corbell. Minister, in June last year the then Health Minister, Mr Stanhope, launched the much awaited health action plan. Part of that plan was the establishment of the Health Council,

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