Page 4584 - Week 14 - Thursday, 24 November 2005

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Much is being said about putting a lot back on the community. I do not have time to go into why a lot of that stuff is quite appalling in itself, but I will go on quoting from the report:

… Paul Lewis, of the ACT Planning and Land Authority, reflected on the challenges faced by fire affected residents ...

People not had only to weave through their own emotional state but also through the sheer enormity of rebuilding their homes and all that involved. As we know, it has not been an easy route for people. Many will see, on the website, the issue of houses being rebuilt and so forth. I will not go into that here.

On page 9 it states:

Mr Barton Williams, of VicUrban, introduced delegates to the sustainability benchmarks that VicUrban is working with.

He talked about a sustainability charter, focusing on the community wellbeing, environment, commercial success, housing affordability and urban design excellence.

If we stop at the first point, community wellbeing: we have a government and a Chief Minister who wish the opposition would not talk about this issue at all, in the hope that it will simply go away, not ever be spoken about, let us never bring it up for debate at all, because he has got a glass jaw and he cannot take it. He can give it, but he cannot take it.

We have to also make the point that you cannot rebuild a community in its physical sense unless you can first rebuild its people. The Chief Minister wants to wash over all of this; let us get on with life, let us get on with it. He sits there, smugly smiling, while people are suffering. He denies the fact that people ring the opposition, that they call people in the media, that they talk to people like the ABC about post-traumatic stress. It does not exist, according to the Chief Minister.

I would say then that the Chief Minister is in total denial that new research has revealed a high rate of post-traumatic stress.

Mr Stanhope: Not even your core vote.

MRS BURKE: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: would the Chief Minister like to shut up while I finish my speech?

MR SPEAKER: Order! Tempted though people may be to interject, it is disorderly so please desist.

MRS BURKE: The Chief Minister, obviously, and the Treasurer do not like to hear these comments. The ABC reported this week:

New research has revealed a high rate of post-traumatic stress disorder among victims of the 2003 Canberra bushfires.

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