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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 3615 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

I recognise, and I think we all recognise, that some of the changes resulting from the fuel reduction program will be painful for nearby residents. They are painful for me, and they will undoubtedly be painful for some residents, but I will not resile from my determination and the determination of my government to make the community safe. I will not.

In the face of the sorts of reports and the sorts of advice that I have just provided to members in relation to the view of John Nicholson-the expert engaged by the ACT; a person whose CV in relation to issues around forest and fires is unimpeachable-it seems to me there is no other response that we as a responsible government or community to make other than the one that we are making.

I'll repeat what Mr Nicholson says: "I reiterate my expression of anxiety over the fuel load under these blue gums"and the dangers, he goes on to say, of allowing those blue gums at Oakey Hill to remain in situ. The advice to my department, advice which they accept-and their advice to me is that I should accept it, and I do-is this is a risk and a danger that is simply untenable. I accept that, and I know it is painful and I know it is difficult, and it is certainly regrettable, but we have no option but to take the steps that we have taken and I will not resile from it. If the Liberal Party wants to make cheap political points out of our attempt to make the community safe then be it on your head.

Mr Pratt: Is the ground zero approach the only one?

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Pratt!

Personal explanations

MR STEFANIAK: I seek leave to make a personal explanation under standing order 46. The matter relates to question time, Mr Speaker. Mr Stanhope on several occasions queried the right of any Liberal to stand up-

MR SPEAKER: Order! Unless you are going to confine yourself to a personal statement-

MR STEFANIAK: I am, Mr Speaker. He queried my right to ask the question in relation to indigenous affairs, and implied that I and other members of my party had done nothing. I would just like to remind him very briefly, Mr Speaker-

MR SPEAKER: No, he did not. Order, Mr Stefaniak! I do not think that Mr Stanhope referred to you in particular at all and standing order 46 is particularly confined to matters of a personal nature. If you want to talk about the Liberal Party, seek some other means to do it under the standing orders.

MR STEFANIAK: All right, but he said "you", meaning me, and he also went on to talk about the Liberal Party generally. I will just confine myself to a personal explanation. I am not going to go into the litany of things that my party did, or even what I did, for indigenous communities while we were in government, Mr Stanhope. I will just mention a couple, though.

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