Page 3662 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 26 August 2008

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where money has been wasted and where there are some very significant adverse effects in terms of our proper preparedness.

This government and any future government owe it to generations of Canberrans to get this right. I think this report, whilst not nearly as strong as I would have liked to have seen it, points out that there are some very real problems that still face our emergency services. Morale especially, it is painfully obvious, is still very low. Something needs to be done. Maybe people need to be moved to different areas of government if they cannot address those problems but, quite clearly, there are some huge and significant issues there which are unresolved and where the situation has not improved. I fear that those dire predictions may well prove right. We simply cannot afford, though, to do nothing and to pretend that things have improved when they have not. Much more work needs to be done.

I commend my dissenting report to the Assembly. There is a lot of information in the committee report. As I indicated, I have highlighted some of the problems I have with it. No doubt, other speakers, when they read it, may well have some further issues in relation to it.

This is something we simply cannot afford not to get right. We owe it to our children. We owe it to the future. We owe it to all Canberrans to ensure that we are properly prepared for future bushfires, which will happen. It is not a question of “might”; it is a matter of “will”. We need to prepare as best we can for that eventuality. Sadly, I must conclude that I do not think we are, as are result of the information that has been placed before this inquiry. Much more needs to be done.

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (7.35): I would like to start by placing on the record my thanks to my committee colleagues Mr Stefaniak, the chair of the committee, and Dr Foskey, my colleague on the committee. This report is a very extensive report. The inquiry has been going for quite a long time, and I think members, when they read the report, will see that there is a lot of information in here about the fire and emergency services arrangements in the ACT.

It goes into quite in-depth detail about the arrangements in the ACT as well as looking quite extensively at the numerous reports that have been presented in this area. I will just name them from the report:

1991 Hannan review and the Purdon report

1993 MacDonald Review

1994 McBeth Report

1995 Glenn Review—Task Force on Fuel Management Practices in the ACT

And then, of course, there was the McLeod review and the coronial inquest into the 2003 bushfires.

I think it is fair to say—and I do not think it would be a great surprise to anybody in this place—that Mr Stefaniak, Dr Foskey and I all had very different views on a number of issues in this report. But I have to say this is a committee that works very well together. We do not agree a lot of the time, but we always try to listen to each other. I think that is very important.

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