Page 1081 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 16 March 2005

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MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, Mr Hargreaves said that I did not understand. I am trying to point out that in fact Mr Hargreaves does not understand his own answer to his own question.

MR SPEAKER: Resume your seat.

Mr Hargreaves: Mr Speaker—

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves, my leave for a personal explanation is not a means to continue a debate. I am assuming that you want leave, and I am just sort of offering you that little warning, that it must be a personal explanation.

Supplementary answers to questions without notice

Emergency services response

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, I wish to give some additional information with respect to the answer that I gave to Mrs Dunne in the course of question time. The first piece of information I would like to advise the Assembly of is that Mrs Dunne asked me a question, which was almost word perfect with a question put on the notice paper. As she had not received my response, I believe, she really should have been out of order, in fact, in asking the question in the first place, and she should have known better, as a government whip.

However, as I signed it on 15 March, I would like to take the opportunity of providing that information in specific detail, whereas I was giving it in general detail today. Her question was:

Have fire-fighting personnel with (a) ACT Forests and (b) Parks Brigade at any time been given a directive not to respond to reports …

I think Mrs Dunne said that just now. The answer is that ACT Forests and Parks Brigade have been instructed by their agency employers to comply with speed limits, traffic lights and road signs while travelling to rural fires. Where appropriate, trained and competent personnel may use lights and sirens to negotiate traffic and impediments.

She went on to ask:

If such a directive had been issued, (a) on what basis was it issued, given that fire-fighting personnel from these brigades have in the past responded to fires, (b) on what date will fire-fighting personnel be again able to respond to bushfire incidents and (c) what interim measures have been adopted …

The response to that, Mr Speaker, was:

A) The Department of Urban Services and Environment ACT provide firefighters to the ACT Rural Fire Service under a Memorandum of Understanding. While involved in bushfire control operations, these personnel are under the command and control of the rural fire service, but they remain employees of these agencies, and government land managers maintain a duty of care for their employees. It is important to ensure that personnel undertaking fire-fighting duties including Urgent

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