Page 2161 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 22 June 2005

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initiate the first response to fires on land that they manage, and this resulted in the establishment in the Department of Urban Services of the fire management unit, which does a very fine job. Minister, is it the case that the fire management unit is to be abolished and that some staff will be transferred to other positions or lose their jobs as a result? If so, why?

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, I am not aware that the fire management unit will be abolished, in the same way that I am not aware that a whole stack of other things are not going to happen. Mrs Dunne has come up with a Baldrick-like very cunning question. I have to say—

Mr Pratt: And what is the answer or is there an answer?

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Pratt!

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, a lesson that we learnt from those dreadful bushfires in 2003 is that we need to be organisationally prepared as well as materially prepared for such catastrophe. What is happening as the Emergency Services Authority evolves—and remember, Mr Speaker, it is just under a year old—is that we now have a focus on such things as fire mitigation on the urban edge. We have got such things as the strategic bushfire management plan. We have things like the abatement zone. We have a whole range of issues.

What we have within the governmental structure is a whole series of land managers; intricately connected with those are fire management units. The efficacy of those units as part of a total fire response is constantly looked at. The interrelationships between the fire management units, the forestry units, the rural fire service, the ESA itself and the urban fire response through the fire brigade are constantly being reviewed and looked at in order to improve. If Mrs Dunne is saying, “What are you doing, you nasty person? You are abolishing things,” my answer to her is that we are making sure that we do not suffer the same consequences as we did last time.

MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Will the minister be able to guarantee that the fire management unit—a direct recommendation of the McLeod inquiry—will not be abolished at any time in the foreseeable future?

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, I can guarantee the community, through the Assembly, through your office, that the facilities, the assets, that the Department of Urban Services has within its control, and its responsibility to the community of the ACT, will be properly protected.

Phillip Oval

MS MacDONALD: My question is directed to the Minister for Economic Development in his capacity as Minister for Sport and Recreation. Can the minister update the Assembly on the government’s plan to upgrade Phillip Oval?

MR QUINLAN: This is one of the budget measures mooted before the budget was brought down that pretty well had universal support. If people had recently been to this

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