Page 4086 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 15 November 2005

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because of more common periods of drought and extreme weather events due to climate change. Ms Lyn Breuer MLA, presiding member of the South Australian Environment, Resources and Development Committee, addressed the conference on the 2005 Wangary fires on the Lower Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.

Conference delegates then heard from Mr Hilton Taylor, Acting Director of ACT Forests, who provided an overview of the impacts of the 2003 bushfires on the ACT forests sector and the recovery process. He discussed roadworks, erosion control, debris removal, revegetation and ongoing forward planning. Mr Taylor stressed the need for the community to be involved in recovery efforts, particularly plantings.

On Friday 30 September, following the first keynote and panel session, delegates divided into two streams, focusing loosely on public works, the built environment and community engagement. In stream one Mr Paul Lewis of the ACT Planning and Land Authority reflected on the challenges faced by fire-affected residents rebuilding after the fire and the actions, strategies and information products the ACT government has developed to assist them. Mr Peter Galvin, from the ACT department of arts, heritage and environment, took delegates through the ACT government’s vision for the new Tidbinbilla nature reserve, which delegates had the chance to visit on Thursday. Mr Barton Williams, of VicUrban, introduced delegates to the sustainability benchmarks VicUrban is working with in partnership with the private sector.

In stream two, Ms Mary Porter MLA discussed the issues of spontaneous volunteers, how to successfully manage post-disaster volunteers, and future opportunities. Dr Susan Nicholls of the University of Canberra presented a case study of the ACT government’s communication strategy after the 2003 bushfires. Ms Chris Healy, Ms Jo Matthews and Mr Graham Fuller then presented a case study on community involvement in recovery, focusing on the efforts of the Mount Taylor community here in Canberra after the 2003 bushfires. In concluding stream two, Mr Chris Stamford of the Phoenix Association spoke about his experience as a volunteer and the emotional aspects of helping others.

Throughout the duration of the conference there was a display where organisations showcased their responsibilities, or achievements, in responding to the catastrophe of a minor or major bushfire, or to highlight risk-reducing strategies and their success in integrating sustainability principles into recovery initiatives.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in making the conference the resounding success I believe it was. The committee thanks all the speakers, conference chairs, caterers, display contributors and ACT Assembly staff who assisted with the organisation of the conference. Officers of the ACT Legislative Assembly who made significant contributions to the success of the conference included Dr Hanna Jaireth, Ms Linzi Lamont, Mr Bob Hill, Ms Judy Munday, Ms Judy Moutia, Mr Tom Duncan, Ms Celeste Italiano, Ms Tamara Smallhorn, Ms Melissa Riches, Ms Libby Camp, Ms Ellie Eggerking, Ms Lauren Hutchins and Mr Ian De Landelles. The ACT has set a very high benchmark for next year’s conference, which will be held in Queensland and hosted by the Queensland Public Works Committee.

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (10.43): As Mr Gentleman has already outlined, the Tenth Annual Conference of Parliamentary Environment and Public Works Committees, hosted by the ACT Standing Committee on Planning and Environment, focused on

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