Page 3041 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 23 August 2005

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Mr Pratt: But what about the evacuation plans?

MR SPEAKER: Order! Chief Minister, resume your seat. There is an argument going on in the chamber between a couple of members. It might be best, if you want to hear the answer from the Chief Minister, that you desist.

MR STANHOPE: That is the approach that has been adopted by Commissioner Dunn and the ACT Emergency Services Authority. They have, within the context of a broad emergency management arrangement, developed a strategy in relation to evacuation. That evacuation strategy is part of a broad emergency management plan. The strategy reflects the very obvious commonsense principles derived by the ACT community safety evacuation policy that the emergency management committee has developed.

The principles included in the strategy include the protection of life as the primary objective of ACT emergency management operations. In more extreme situations, evacuation may be required to protect life. Individuals in communities have different capacities to cope with emergency evacuation. Timely and consistent advice is required for informed community decision-making. A single all-hazards warning system needs to be provided to ensure the best mechanism of providing consistent information, and that is the point I make about the memorandum of understanding. The ACT is the only place in Australia that has managed to achieve that with its public and private electronic media. Evacuation requirements will, of course, differ, depending on the nature of the hazard and the situation.

I think the great strength of the emergency management arrangements that have been put in place in the ACT is that, to the extent that evacuations are required, they will differ depending on the nature of the hazard and the particular situation that has caused it. You cannot have, as Mr Pratt seems to suggest, a one-size-fits-all evacuation plan. Mr Pratt would utilise the same evacuation plan for a bushfire as he would for the possibility of a bomb. That is the direction that Mr Pratt would take in relation to this, if Mr Pratt or the Liberal Party could ever actually get around to developing a policy on anything.

Questions such as this always, of course, beg the question: what has the Liberal Party done about it? What will they do about it? How many years of opposition do they require in order to develop their first ever policy on anything? What policy have you ever seen come from Mr Pratt, other than his police-bashing policies? He is the first and only major police basher we have had in this place. He is the shadow anti-police minister. He will bash police the first chance he gets, just as we see Mr Stefaniak and Mr Smyth out there bashing firefighters at every possible turn.

Mr Pratt: What a load of crap!

MR SPEAKER: Mr Pratt, that is offensive and unparliamentary. Withdraw that comment.

Mr Pratt: I withdraw it, Mr Speaker. I will ask a supplementary question, if I may?

MR SPEAKER: Well, maybe. Supplementary, Mr Pratt.

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