Page 279 - Week 01 - Thursday, 16 February 2006

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types of courses. Ride ’n Thrive is not only a very comprehensive and compact course; it is very affordable to all members of the community.

The requirements for the course are simple, as long as you bring along your registered and insured motorcycle, sunscreen, a current riders licence, protective clothing, wet weather gear—we could all hope for a little more rain—a full tank of petrol and the sum of $90 to cover the costs of having a HART trainer for every six riders. With all these things, you can set off on a lovely day of riding, chatting and enjoying the company of others while engaging in and learning about safe riding practices.

The first two Ride ’n Thrive courses took place on the weekend of 4 and 5 February and I have been informed they were a complete success. I am proud to stand here tonight and congratulate the ACT government for supporting the MRA ACT in conducting these courses to, hopefully, assist in enjoyable motorcycling and fewer deaths on our roads.

Bushfires—Yarralumla brickworks

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (6.23): In question time on Tuesday, I spoke about the Yarralumla bushfire that occurred in late December, and I again referred to that bushfire yesterday in a motion that I moved here. I raised the fact that Yarralumla residents had written numerous letters to authorities and to Mr Stanhope over four years about the bushfire fuel load threat at the back of the brickworks and at the back of the fence line along the western edge of Yarralumla. I also submitted an FOI request to locate documents held by the government about those exchanges and I sent that request to the Department of Urban Services.

I have put a number of quite serious questions to the Minister for Urban Services about that FOI request and the response that I received from his department. I was advised in a letter dated 8 February 2006 from DUS that an FOI request that I had made seeking documents relating to “any and all correspondence” between the Department of Urban Services and the proprietors/bodies corporate of unit plans Nos 232 and 239 in Yarralumla could not be fulfilled: “Our searches have not identified any departmental documents that fall within the ambit of your request.”

Mr Mulcahy: None?

MR PRATT: None. Not one document could be found—not one, absolutely zero. However, Mr Speaker, I do have a copy of one such item of correspondence, and I will table that here in this place at the next sitting. The copy that I have is a copy of a letter from Urban Services to the director of units plan 232 and I am sure that there must be more correspondence such as that.

I want to know why DUS, Urban Services, say that they do not have any such documentation when clearly it does exist. Are the department’s records in such disarray, perhaps, that they cannot source their records properly, or is it simply the case that they are trying to hide information that shows this government’s neglect of the residents of Yarralumla? I want to know what assurances the minister can give me that his department is neither incompetent in its record keeping nor deliberately breaching the FOI Act on what is a very, very important issue.

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