Page 138 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 15 February 2006

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Continuing on with the good news for the people of the ACT: the ACT’s fire services are also setting an example for the rest of the country. Our Fire Brigade response times are the second fastest in the country, and we lead the country in containing fires in their room of origin, at 78 per cent of the time, meaning that damage to property is minimised overall. This result can be attributed to excellent response times but also to the community informing the ESA of fires in a responsible and timely manner that enables quick dispatch to occur.

I was pleased to see the ACT leading the country in the recruitment of volunteers, with a large increase in the amount of volunteers in emergency services since 2002-03. We addressed this issue yesterday in Ms Porter’s MPI, but I take this opportunity to again sing the praises of our volunteers. In the ACT, we have volunteers in our fire services, both through the Fire Brigade and the Rural Fire Service, and in our State Emergency Service.

Since 2002-03, we have seen a significant overall increase in volunteers, from 830 to 1,266, the highest rise in the country and bucking the national trend, which has seen an overall decrease. I applaud the Canberra community for the commitment they have shown in helping our emergency services protect life, property and the environment in the ACT. The opposition might choose to also encourage young Canberrans to become volunteers in the ESA.

I congratulate the ESA and its four services on the excellent results they have achieved in protecting the Canberra community and urge the opposition to demonstrate constructive support for the ESA rather than continue to undermine the public perception of what is, clearly, a national benchmark in providing excellent work in the community.

Budget—superannuation liabilities

MRS BURKE: Treasurer, the report on the midyear review of the ACT budget that you tabled yesterday details a number of factors that were identified in the annual actuarial review of the territory’s superannuation liabilities. As an accountant, you would, of course, appreciate the nature of the advice prepared by the actuary. Treasurer, when was the first occasion on which your government was advised by the actuary of potential issues relating to a change in the pattern of benefits taken, the level of personal superannuation contributions and the impact of changes in wage indexation and the discount rate?

MR QUINLAN: That is a very good question, Mrs Dunne! Did you do it all yourself? Occasionally, we stand in this place at question time and say, “I thank the honourable member for the question.” We do not really mean it, quite often, but I mean it this time. On radio this morning, as I referred to in the previous answer, Mr Mulcahy virtually stated that he thought that in the estimates hearings of 26 October I had information on the actuarial review in my possession. Despite his assiduous questioning—he usually tells people that he asks searching questions—I do not recall that in the estimates hearing, but one man’s “assiduous” is another man’s “quite superficial”.

Just to be sure, I asked my department to give me some record of the gestation of the actuarial review and the material that we got. Remember that it was 26 October that the

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