Page 3458 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 21 September 2005

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MR CORBELL: I would always be very cautious about any assertion Mr Smyth made about what someone may or may not have said to him. I have every confidence in the capacity planning processes of ACT Health. I think the approach we have outlined is the one that will deliver the best possible services for the people of Canberra.

Disaster planning

MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the minister for emergency services. I refer to the bomb scare incident on 7 September at Eclipse House. Why wasn’t the manager of the Waldorf Hotel informed or notified that there was a potential bomb threat only metres from their building? Why did it take a member of staff of the Waldorf to go out and ask the police what was going on?

MR HARGREAVES: I thank Mr Pratt for the question. I have to say that I do not know the answer to his question at this point; neither do I know why, perhaps, the manager of the Holy Grail or the manager of the Canberra Centre was not told.

I have a lot of confidence in the way in which police officers deal with emergencies. With respect to the opposition’s assertions yesterday that nobody in this Assembly knew, my information is that the police informed people here and that one of our attendants, quite appropriately, instructed evacuation of the east wing of this august body—to the extent where a couple of officers from the Chief Minister’s Department—

Opposition members interjecting—

MR HARGREAVES: The people over there can rant and rave as much as they like; the fact is that they have been sprung. They were asserting yesterday, through innuendo, that nobody in this building knew; that there was nothing done about evacuating this building. That is what they were insinuating yesterday. There is no doubt about it. The truth, in fact, is out. The police had discussions with the proper authority in this building, which was a delegate of the Clerk, who is a delegate of your good self, Mr Speaker.

What happened? That officer went click, straight into the emergency evacuation procedures, took the advice of the police and arranged for the effective evacuation of this building. One member of this place was told directly by that staff member.

I can do nothing but applaud the actions of the police and applaud the actions of the attendant in this place who arranged that evacuation. When I hear these sorts of questions coming from the shadow minister for emergency services, following on the heels of such a manufactured and confected furphy yesterday, I intend to treat such questions with the contempt due to them.

Tree protection legislation

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for the Environment. This morning on ABC radio, an arboriculturalist, Mr Damien Smith, was speaking about the Tree Protection Bill, which is currently before the Assembly. In the course of the interview, Mr Smith claimed that arboriculturalists had not been consulted about the bill. Minister,

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