Page 907 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

ACT government agencies across the whole spectrum of the public service have been involved in providing support to their Victorian counterparts in recent weeks and it is appropriate that the Assembly takes this opportunity to reflect on those efforts and to record its thanks to all involved.

Four emergency services task forces totalling around 500 people have travelled from the ACT to Victoria. Each of these task forces has been made up of staff and volunteer firefighting personnel from the ACT Rural Fire Service, the ACT Fire Brigade and the Department of Territory and Municipal Services. These task forces have included two compressed air foam system tankers, five heavy tankers and 10 light units from the ACT Rural Fire Service and the ACT Fire Brigade. They have included remote area fire-fighting teams, field support teams from the SES and ACT Ambulance, InTACT technical and communications support and fleet maintenance staff and equipment. These task forces combated the fires in the Beechworth, Dederang and Murrindindi areas with members conducting direct property protection, working in rough country on active fire fronts as well as back-burning and blacking-out fire affected areas.

Teams of ESA mapping and planning support volunteers and staff have been rotated through Kilmore, Yarra Glen, Traralgon, Diamond Creek and Kinglake assisting Victoria Police. ACT Policing have provided experienced officers to assist with disaster victim identification. Teams from Domestic Animal Services, including two animal recovery control centre trailers, have been working with their Victorian counterparts and the RSPCA to care for family pets and wildlife. Other ACT government departments and volunteers have supported the emergency services in Canberra by providing vital backup to allow specialist staff to be released to Victoria, including, for example, ACTION Buses fleet maintenance staff.

Our experience from 2003 in disaster recovery, including the recovery task force, has been drawn upon by Victoria in planning and mobilising their recovery efforts. The Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services, which is responsible for disaster recovery, continues to liaise closely with its Victorian counterparts. A formal offer of support and assistance has been made in this regard. ACT Health has contingency arrangements in place and is participating in contingency planning for possible future assistance across the spectrum of emergency response, public health and mental health support.

We are fortunate in the ACT to have dedicated, professional people in our emergency services, both full time and volunteer, and in the public service experienced in dealing with all the consequences and impacts of a disaster such as the one that has unfolded in Victoria. While they might say that they are just doing their jobs, the Assembly should recognise and applaud their efforts, their sacrifice and their dedication not only through their preparedness to offer support and assistance to Victoria but also for the quality of their service to the Canberra community every day. It is also appropriate that the Assembly recognise the significant contribution made by the employers of our emergency service volunteers who have willingly released them from their normal duties to undertake this important work, often at cost to their own business.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .