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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 26 September 2007) . . Page.. 2697 ..

MR SPEAKER: Order! Withdraw that, Mr Smyth.

Mr Smyth: I withdraw the fact that Mr Hargreaves is a goose.

MR SPEAKER: No, no, unreservedly.

Mr Smyth: I withdraw unreservedly.

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, I make the point that if the bridge was in such a state that it needed to be closed during Mr Smyth’s stewardship, the question has to be asked, why did he not, as we have done, commission a full examination of that bridge to check for its stability? The answer is quite clear to everybody—because he was not watching.

MR SMYTH: Minister, why have you failed to investigate all options to enable the complete restoration of the Tharwa bridge?

MR HARGREAVES: I have not, Mr Speaker.

Emergency services

MS PORTER: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Minister, can you advise the Assembly on the progress of implementing the establishment of an additional 10 community fire units to help protect the Canberra community?

MR CORBELL: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and I thank Ms Porter for the question. I know that she has taken a strong interest in the development of community fire units in her electorate and I know that she has taken the time and effort to go out and visit a number of the community fire units, particularly one within Hawker. She has been a strong supporter of this program.

The government is very pleased to be moving ahead with its implementation of the 10 new community fire units that were announced and given funding in the most recent ACT budget. So far, since the announcement of the funding, the ACT Fire Brigade has commenced a series of public meetings to gauge residents’ level of commitment to having a community fire unit in their area. Seven public meetings have occurred to date. The commitment and the interest level have varied across and between suburbs. The ACT Fire Brigade will be continuing these meetings and they anticipate that that meeting process will be completed by the end of October.

The areas canvassed so far include the suburbs of Duffy, Chapman, Cook, Aranda and O’Connor. Dunlop, Curtin and Hawker are still being assessed by the fire brigade. The training for our new CFUs will commence on the weekend of 6 to 7 October; so quite soon. This training program will reflect the experiences and the lessons learnt by the ACT Fire Brigade and the existing fire units that have been in place since 2003.

This highlights the government’s very strong commitment to continuing to improve the ability of local residents who live on the urban edge in fire prone areas to better

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