Page 3098 - Week 08 - Thursday, 25 June 2009

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emergency services. Funding has been provided for the Jerrabomberra and Rivers sheds upgrades, an upgrade of two of our largest volunteer brigades in the territory, both SES and RFS. That funding ensures that the recent expansion in the fleet allocations to those brigades can be accommodated as well as improved training and administration and storage areas.

Mr Smyth: Poor old Tidbinbilla missed out.

MR CORBELL: I note Mr Smyth’s critique about Tidbinbilla. It is simply the case that we need to find an appropriate alternative location for the Tidbinbilla shed. This is not an easy process in what is a very sensitive area of the territory in the Tidbinbilla Valley area. I have met with representatives of the Tidbinbilla brigade and discussed the issues with them. The ESA is working right now on the long-term identification of that site for Tidbinbilla so that, hopefully, we can provide funding in a future budget.

There are also very important investments in other parts of our emergency services. The upgrade of the community fire units program—an additional 12 community fire units, the implementation of a Labor election commitment—is a very important commitment for this government. Those 12 units will extend community fire unit coverage into the Tuggeranong Valley and a number of other key sites around the city.

Community fire units perform a very important function in training and educating householders on how they can undertake property protection—to protect their properties against ember attack, against fire attack. It also helps build social capital in those suburbs. It is remarkable going around and talking to community fire unit members, as I do. Without hesitation, and repeatedly with different fire units, they say, “The best thing about this is that we know people in our street; we know people in our neighbourhood.” That social capital is so important in an emergency. I know that Ms Porter would vouch for that, given her very close involvement with the Hawker unit.

There is a range of other initiatives, important funding. There is $4 million for the design of a new Supreme Court. The Supreme Court must be replaced; we must have a new and modern facility. This design work will allow that to proceed as the government finalises consideration on the appropriate site for a new Supreme Court.

Finally, there is very important funding for Neighbourhood Watch. We were delighted to provide funding for Neighbourhood Watch, to invest in this important scheme for many Canberrans and to support the administration and activities of that particular group.

This is a strong budget for the Justice and Community Safety portfolio, one that builds on this government’s reputation of building a responsive, progressive justice system and well-resourced and effective emergency services.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Proposed expenditure—Part 1.15—Department of the Environment, Climate Change, Energy and Water, $23,012,000 (net cost of outputs), $3,660,000 (capital injection) and $1,301,000 (payments on behalf of the territory), totalling $27,973,000.

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