Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 5255 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

was shown to fire-affected residents. The taskforce report, which has been tabled today, reveals that many people have made substantial progress in recovering from the fires.

Having said that, Mr Speaker, I want to stress that the ACT government remains conscious that many people suffered a great deal during and after the fires, and that people recover at different rates.

Assistance will continue to be available for bushfire-affected residents. The recovery centre will remain open until the end of March 2004, and planning is under way to ensure that appropriate, targeted services remain available after that date.

As you would expect, the Bushfire Recovery Taskforce report documents the work undertaken by the taskforce. But it is more than just a report as an historical record or for formal purposes of accountability: it is also designed as a working reference document to assist others who may be faced with similar challenges in the future.

Mr Speaker, there are four major aspects of this recovery which set it apart:

the taskforce model;

the establishment of a broadly based community and expert reference group to ensure that the taskforce and the government had early warning of issues relating to the bushfire-affected community;

the establishment of a dedicated secretariat to support the recovery; and

the establishment of the recovery centre.

The first aspect of the recovery-the taskforce model-was extremely effective. The taskforce had strong links to the ACT community, and brought together experience in project management, business, government administration and community development. And it saw its focus as not only assisting the ACT to recover from disaster but also to learn from the process and to create a stronger, better planned and more resilient ACT.

The second aspect of the recovery was the establishment of the community and expert reference group to ensure that the taskforce remained fully informed about community needs and expectations. Representing fire-affected residents, unions, peak community and business groups, and the Commonwealth government, the group's contribution has been invaluable. Its members have been vigorous in pursuing community concerns and their determined focus on community health, especially mental health, should be highlighted. I am pleased to note, Mr Speaker, that the reference group's report is included as part of the taskforce's report.

Thirdly, Mr Speaker, the government created a full-time administrative infrastructure to support the taskforce and the community and expert reference group and to supplement the recovery work being undertaken in mainstream departments. This secretariat was staffed mainly by public servants seconded from the ACT public service whose commitment and dedication have been extraordinary.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .