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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (22 October) . . Page.. 3921 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

occasions on which they rely on a private vehicle. They are two ways, Mr Speaker, in which the government is seeking to coordinate those activities.

MS TUCKER: My supplementary question is: is that information that you gather during this consultation actually going to inform changes to the public transport services, if that is necessary?

MR CORBELL: Yes, Mr Speaker, the government is open to, and ACTION is certainly looking closely at, the need to either expand or alter services to meet demand.

Bushfires-hazard reduction

MR CORNWELL: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Minister for Urban Services, Mr Wood. I assure you it has nothing to do with the coroner's inquiry, Mr Wood-at least yet. Constituents who live near Levold Place in Spence have contacted the opposition about a dangerous build-up of fuel in urban, open spaces.

Mr Stanhope: What, blue gum?

MR CORNWELL: I don't know. Perhaps you should ask the department, because residents have contacted the department to get rid of this dangerous fuel several times without any action. Indeed, the department's hazard reduction program, as listed on the Department of Urban Services' website, indicates that there is no plan to address this area during the coming bushfire season.

Minister, why have you failed to clear the obvious fire hazard caused by the long grass and the build-up of other fuels around Levold Place in Spence or added it to the hazard reduction in Belconnen, despite repeated requests?

MR WOOD: What a fiery speech! We certainly pay attention to all the claims that come in. Can I say this: Urban Services officers are full strap in hazard reduction all around Canberra; they are fully, absolutely, totally employed on a very comprehensive program. That makes it a little more difficult for them to respond in each and every area where some residents may have a concern. It may be a legitimate concern; I am not arguing about that.

The areas decided for the immediate program, a very large program, are those that stand out as the areas of most concern. This is the bush capital. It is just not possible to cut every blade of grass in every area. It is just not possible to do that. I am sure you would agree with that.

I have to tell you that the hazard reduction program-the slashing, the burning and the physical removal-is greater at this point of time than it has ever been. There is no doubt about that. It is full on out there.

In normal times, if residents ring in that they are concerned about grass somewhere else, it is usually possible for Urban Services to have a look and perhaps do something about it. But they are fully employed on a comprehensive management scheme right now. We will continue with that. Nevertheless, I will ask them again to have a look at it. But they have a very prioritised list, a very extensive list, that is keeping them fully occupied.

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