Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 20 August 2009) . . Page.. 3453 ..
I am pleased that there have been some further discussions that follow on from the 10 contacts there have been between my office and yours, Ms Le Couteur, in relation to the development of this bill, including, I understand, briefings with the Planning and Land Authority in relation to a range of energy efficiency matters. So the comments that were made in yesterday’s debate that there had been no contact between my office and the Greens are factually incorrect. Again, I have come to expect this sort of snippy interaction between myself and the Greens. Such is the nature of parliamentary business. As I have said in this place more than once, we have many things that we agree on and many things that we disagree on. In this instance, it would appear that there is pretty broad agreement on the policy direction. It would just appear that the way to get there, and the best way to get there, is in dispute.
I can give this commitment to the Assembly and to the member: the government remain committed to ensuring that we move ahead on this issue and that we are able to constructively engage with all Australian governments to achieve a national solution to this matter. And the government’s process that we have been engaged in for quite some time now is the best way forward.
MS PORTER: My question is to the minister for emergency services. Minister, can you update the Assembly on steps taken by the territory to prepare for the upcoming bushfire season?
Opposition members interjecting—
MR SPEAKER: I call Mr Corbell.
MR CORBELL: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and I thank Ms Porter for the question. It is disappointing that those opposite consider the bushfire season as an opportunity to make political mileage on what is, of course, a season which presents very real and serious threats to our community every year.
This season is no different. We are facing a potentially dangerous bushfire season with fuels in the tall forest country exceptionally dry for this time of year. The advice that is emerging from the Bureau of Meteorology is indicating that an El Nino event is developing across the Pacific, with computer models indicating it will reach peak intensity late in the year.
As members would know, El Nino events are usually, but not always, associated with below normal rainfall in the second half of the year. The national outlook for total rainfall over the late winter to mid-spring period—that is, August to October—shows moderate to strong shifts in the odds favouring a drier than normal season.
Furthermore, the national outlook for maximum temperatures averaged late winter to mid-spring shows that warmer than normal days are expected for most of Australia, with six of the seven leading international climate models surveyed by the Bureau of Meteorology predicting the tropical Pacific to continue to warm and to remain above El Nino thresholds for the rest of 2009.