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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 5287 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

issue and there are peer-reviewed studies on both sides. That is why it is really so disingenuous and insulting when we have an issue as serious as this one that a politician gets up and says something like: "Greens cause fires."Clearly, a more sophisticated analysis than that is required.

On the question of greenhouse, I also want to make the point that both parties in this house have supported the Gungahlin Drive extension. They have both used the language that we have a problem with greenhouse. Mr Smyth tells us that we have a greenhouse strategy which is to the credit of the Liberal government. I accept that I was glad to receive support from the Liberal government, but from memory it was from the whole Assembly, to the setting of targets and we have a greenhouse strategy, but we know quite clearly that the major source of the increase in emissions in the ACT is transport.

We also know that evidence supports the proposition that, if you want to deal with transport and private car use, you do not do so by building more freeways; you invest in having a public transport system that will attract people in the community. But there is no willingness by either of the major parties to deal with this issue. They are more concerned about the next election and simplistic vote getting around roads.

MR PRATT (5.09): I rise to support Mr Smyth's concerns about the management of the environment in the ACT. There have been very clear signals that strategies to minimise damage to our natural resources and the lessons coming out of the December 2001 fires were not adopted through 2002 in preparation for the 2002-03 bushfire season.

Mr Wood: Oh, crap!

MR PRATT: That was despite the fact that 2002 was a drought year and despite all the long-range assessments that the 2002-03 summer would be a real dog of a season. So much for environmental protection! Our fear is that the lessons relevant to the protection of forests, parkland and bushland have been not been learnt and have not been applied through 2003 in time to significantly impede the fire threats likely in the coming bushfire season.

From questions asked at the annual reports hearings into the emergency services, upon whose shoulders is worn a heavy responsibility for environmental protection, it became very clear that the senior emergency managers guiding and advising government do not still have their own risk analysis and a strategic list of areas that may demand land managers must clean up as priority and obligatory tasks.

Consultation, negotiation and compromise in discussions between ESB and land managers to determine clean-up tasks might have been acceptable practice in the past, but January 2003 blew that culture right out of the water. In fact, December 2001 blew it out of the way.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The time for this discussion has expired.

Mrs Dunne: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. Mr Wood interjected that Mr Pratt was speaking crap. I do not know that that is acceptable.

MR SPEAKER: I did not hear it.

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