Page 4588 - Week 14 - Thursday, 24 November 2005

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management plan. The strategic bushfire management plan in the ACT that the rural fire service has in place falls under section 72 of the Emergencies Act 2004 and underpins the ACT’s approach to bushfire management. The plan is framed around the universally recognised emergency management framework of prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. The ESA is implementing the strategies defined in the SBMP that have been developed in consultation with key stakeholders in both the ACT and surrounding New South Wales. These have come to the forefront after a long and complex study by this government into recovery and sustainability after bushfire.

The strategic bushfire management plan is a 10-year plan, to be completed in two parts. Version 1 was completed in January 2005 to meet immediate government and public expectations for bushfire management prior to the 2004-05 season. Version 1 of the SBMP has been well received and provides strategic direction for bushfire management in the ACT. There are a number of important issues that affect the development and implementation of the plan, including: future land use for the Cotter catchment area, the Namadgi park management plan, the Brindabella management plan and ongoing work being undertaken by the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre. It is expected that version 2 of the SBMP will be completed by 2006-07. Version 1 will remain current until that time.

For Mr Pratt’s benefit, this conference was about exchanging ideas so that governments may be best prepared in preventative measures, response and recovery. I assume by Mr Pratt’s comments that he would rather politicise these tragedies than learn from them. Had he bothered to attend, he would have heard the Chief Minister talk on the plans and projects underway in the ACT. He would have heard that out of tragedy comes an opportunity to learn and grow as a community. I commend the Chief Minister for his honesty and leadership at the conference on matters that most members of parliament and, I would presume, ACT opposition members, would rather avoid than confront. I am not alone in my commendation of Mr Stanhope and the ACT government. I draw members’ attention to section 1.9 of the report where Stuart Ellis, chair of the COAG national bushfire inquiry:

… praised the ACT Government’s demonstrated leadership following the 2003 bushfires and commended consideration of bushfire response and recovery programs concurrently.

Further, it says that Mr Sandy Hollway, in 1.10 of the report:

… advised delegates that short and long term recovery strategies should include leadership and teamwork, open and responsive dedicated government machinery, a sense of urgency, strong political backing and the budget to get the job done.

These are all attributes the ACT government displayed during the crisis and in its bushfire recovery process. The conference was not about patting each other on the back and forgetting the real issues, though. It was about exchanging real stories so that all delegates had the opportunity to learn. We heard from the South Australian delegate, Lyn Breuer, on the South Australian government’s response to the 2005 Wangary fires; and we heard from members of the Mount Taylor community about how, out of tragedy, a community came together, building a greater sense of community—and there was the construction of a commemorative tree. This is a living example of opportunity coming

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