Page 3812 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 24 August 2011

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(a) a list of dates that the Property Group or the Emergency Services Authority has visited sites at the Parkwood Road Recycling Estate to assess fuel stockpile;

(b) a list of advice given to tenants regarding reducing fuel loads at the Parkwood Road Recycling Estate;

(c) any risk management plans related to the Parkwood Road Recycling Estate;

(d) what plans they have for the future management of fire risk at the site; and

(e) these documents in the Assembly by the first sitting day in September 2011.

In the ACT we have a government that encroaches into so many aspects of our lives. We have a government that is arrogant and has members that are convinced that their knowledge, ideals and values trump those of the constituents whom they represent. Regardless of whether one agrees with the underlying philosophy or not, this government has created an expectation that it will intervene and involve itself in many different situations. One such situation was the management of the Parkwood Road recycling estate. I am concerned that the government has not managed this site as well as it could have. The government created an expectation that it was involved in managing risk and doing so across the board, across all tenants at the facility. If the government chooses to involve itself in risk management, it should do so properly.

A serious fire started on Saturday, 20 August 2011 that, according to reports today, is still smouldering some four days later. The material burning, I understand, is a large stockpile of wood which, when deposited, is then processed or recycled into woodchips or another product. As I stated in (1)(b) of this motion, it was reported that more than 15 fire units from the Fire Brigade and the Rural Fire Service responded to the emergency call. Some crews, I understand, are still tending to the situation. I would like to commend the efforts of all those who work for our community by putting their own lives at risk through fighting fires. I extend the thanks of the opposition, the Canberra Liberals, to all those people and their families.

It is pretty obvious that large stockpiles of wood make pretty good fuel and should be managed appropriately. I understand that the broad business model of operators at the estate who process recycled products is one where people or organisations pay an operator to drop off waste and operators then process the material in-house or externally, or sell the product on to other markets. Large stockpiles occur when materials are delivered faster than they are processed. This can be deliberate due to economies of scale with processing—that is, it is more efficient to process large quantities of material after a build-up rather than to process in dribs and drabs or when the materials are delivered. When moving materials after sale or for offsite processing, waiting for truck or shipment loads is generally more efficient.

Last week, prior to the fire, on Thursday, I submitted question on notice No 1735 about issues relating to a former operator at the site. I asked:

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