Page 4897 - Week 15 - Thursday, 15 December 2005

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data terminals and automatic vehicle locations for both the ambulance service and the fire brigade has been implemented. It is being extended using an interface with the technology to provide the same capability for the RFS and the SES.

We participate in the National Aerial Fire Fighting Centre, which provides enhanced aerial firefighting capability. Members would have seen the two helicopters last week. We established a permanent emergency coordination centre. When the tsunami hit, the emergency coordination centre worked beautifully. When the storm hit, it worked beautifully. But we do not see Mr Pratt acknowledging any of this.

Mr Pratt bags the trunk radio network. It is being extended to improve operational coverage. A review of the organisational structure in each of the authority’s response agencies is under way, as well as the introduction of joint operational plans. The services talk to each other. You will have seen evidence of that when the storms went through. The SES and the RFS worked beautifully together.

We have engaged the community through information, education and prevention activities. We put out information on how to prepare for bushfires to every home. Did Mr Pratt congratulate us for that? No. He bagged us. We introduced the all-hazards warning system, which was so successfully tested in the recent severe storms. We have provided extensive training for staff across each of the services in the Australasian inter-service incident management system. We have introduced several state of the art CAPS tankers to both the fire brigade and the RFS.

Our capability has increased exponentially. We established the media and community information unit to better manage the ESA’s media liaison and provision of community information functions. McLeod said that we should do it, and we did it. The unit does extensive work, and what does it get for its trouble? Criticism from the man opposite.

We have enhanced computer-based mapping capability. Let us not forget that the ESA has not been sitting on its hands while undertaking these and many other activities. As always, our emergency services have continued to meet the tens of thousands of emergency calls for help from the community each year. It has done it in a timely, efficient and professional way.

Mr Pratt tries to find fault, but he cannot. He has taken an intense fishing trip through the questions on notice system. His questions have been incredibly detailed and the responses have been most appropriate. He has created almost the need for a full-time officer at the ESA just to respond to his questions on notice. One of the sad aspects of listening to the vicious, venomous diatribe from Mr Pratt—one hears echoes of the same thing from Smyth, and I would have expected better from the Leader of the Opposition given that he has been one of these people and understands them—is that Mr Pratt clearly does not understand the answers, and he purports to be the alternative minister for emergency services. Mr Pratt certainly has inspired the confidence of the ESA in his leadership!

Mr Smyth talks about the volunteers. Mr Smyth does not know anything about all the volunteers; neither does his shadow minister. He does not, for example, acknowledge that the guidelines recently referred to were developed in consultation with the volunteers association. He does not acknowledge that at all.

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