Page 3245 - Week 10 - Thursday, 25 August 2005

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based on the Sydney plan—if this was the original thinking for evacuation plans—said:

No, we did not have that thinking. We were considering whether or not we required one in that sort of event.

How can the Canberra community have confidence in your government producing a terrorist evacuation plan when you clearly were making policy on the run? You cannot make up your mind whether or not to have specific evacuation plans.

MR STANHOPE: As I indicated yesterday, the ACT government, through the Emergency Services Authority, has in place detailed plans to respond to emergency situations, including terrorist incidents. Following the Sydney event it is true that I said we had plans or a plan in place. I think I went on to state that I expected it to be finalised within the next few weeks—I cannot quite remember; I would have to refer back to the particular event.

The difficulty in the debate that we are having—which is becoming extremely pedantic and somewhat ridiculous—is the suggestion that because there is no concrete document or piece of paper that is the plan, there is no plan.

Mr Pratt: A book with pictures?

MR STANHOPE: Mr Pratt, I have a plan for how my government is going to win the next election. The plan, which I have not yet published, is simply that at the time of the next election I will ask the people of Canberra, “Do you honestly want this man to be the minister for police and emergency services?” I have not reduced that plan to writing. I do not have a document and it is not something that I have yet formulated or for which I have created the words. That plan is in my head at this stage.

Perhaps the plan will involve a publication at the time. It will contain a photograph of Mr Pratt and it will state, “Do you want this man to be the minister for police and emergency services? Do you want to put your safety in this man’s hands? Would you travel to Europe with this man? Would you visit Yugoslavia or Serbia with this man?” That is the plan. I have absolutely no doubt that the plan will work, but I have not yet reduced it to paper. Similarly, there is a suggestion that because there is no piece of paper that states, “This is the plan for Civic” we do not have a plan. We have a detailed plan for what will occur in the event of an emergency.

MR PRATT: I ask a supplementary question. Chief Minister, when will you be able to reassure the Canberra community that you have proper evacuation plans in place, rather than the spin that we are getting? When will you brief members of the community on what to do in the event of a major emergency, other than to remind them to carry the yellow pages with them on a daily basis? What else do you have?

MR STANHOPE: The commissioner for the Emergency Services Authority and the deputy chief of police for the Australian Capital Territory covered this issue in detail yesterday. I do not know the extent to which the shadow minister understands this issue. I do not know whether or not he understands it. Perhaps I am presuming too much when I say that Mr Pratt and the Leader of the Opposition understand this issue and the essential nature of the plan in process.

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