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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 8 May 2008) . . Page.. 1593 ..

remote area teams and also by the RFS more broadly. That was a very successful exercise.

So I think it highlights that we do adopt a much more aggressive and immediate response strategy to these fires and we have, in particular, invested in the capacity to do that. I do take some offence, Mr Deputy Speaker, at your comments in relation to the negligence of the government. I think it would be fair to say that that in many respects casts a bit of a slur on all those firefighters who did their best in the 10 days leading up to the conflagration on 18 January 2003. It casts a significant slur, I would say, Mr Deputy Speaker, on their efforts to control and manage that incident.

It is important to remember that it was not the government that was making decisions operationally about how that fire should be fought in those immediate days. It was the firefighters on the ground. That is, of course, as it should be. It was not the case that the minister at the time or the Chief Minister at the time was seeking to direct how the fire should be fought. Those decisions were being made by the incident controllers on the ground and in the incident management team at that time.

I think, Mr Deputy Speaker, you should reflect on your comments when you make such assertions that the government was controlling the firefighting activities in those 10 days leading up to 18 January. I accept that you may make other criticisms about the events immediately prior to and on the day of 18 January, and those have been widely debated in this place. I do not accept those arguments either, but I think it is grossly unfair to suggest that the government itself is responsible for the tactics employed in the 10 days leading up to that particularly disastrous day for our city. That is not to cast blame on anyone else, Mr Deputy Speaker, but it is, I think, important for you to reflect on those sorts of comments.

This plan of management is, I know, the result of a very detailed and lengthy process. It is driven largely by the new management structures that are in place for Namadgi national park. The joint board of management, which of course recognises the Indigenous community’s claim and ownership and custodianship of this very significant part of the ACT, has been brought into play for the first time in developing a plan of management for Namadgi national park. Therefore, it is important that we recognise and take account of some of the processes that have to be used to engage that broader range of stakeholders than perhaps we have been used to in developing plans of management for this very important institution for the Canberra community. I commend Mr Gentleman on the approach he has adopted. The government is very pleased to support the motion.

It being 45 minutes after the commencement of Assembly business, the debate was interrupted in accordance with standing order 77. Ordered that the time allotted to Assembly business be extended by 30 minutes.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (12.00): I really want to thank Mr Corbell for that speech. That is the most enormous piece of confection that I think we have ever heard in this place. Mr Corbell puts forward the proposition that we should thank Mr Gentleman for being held to account, that we should thank him for the nine-minute travelogue about his visit to Namadgi. It sounds like it was his first visit to Namadgi; perhaps it is

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