Page 5158 - Week 12 - Thursday, 27 October 2011

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MS BRESNAN: Minister, what interaction has there been between ORS and the Health Directorate to implement the work of the enHealth Council?

MR CORBELL: Again, I will have to take the question on notice.


MS PORTER: My question, through you, Mr Speaker, is to the minister for emergency services.

Mr Hanson interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: One moment, Ms Porter. Mr Hanson, I just spoke to you about that. You are now on a warning for repeated interjection. Ms Porter, you have the floor.

MS PORTER: Minister, the 2011-12 bushfire season is now underway. Could you please provide information on the predictions for this season?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Porter for the question. The 2011-12 bushfire season commenced on 1 October this year. Whilst last year’s bushfire season was relatively benign, the presence of grass fuel across the landscape as a result of prolonged wet weather in the territory means there is now a significant risk to the Canberra community in the months ahead.

Since the end of the 2010-11 summer, there has been below average rainfall and a colder than average winter. This has seen the grasslands cure off and become dry and brown, further increasing fuel and fire risk. All indicators suggest that the risk of grassfires occurring during the forthcoming summer is high.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s seasonal outlook indicates that there will be average rainfall over the summer period. However, daytime and night-time temperatures will be higher and lower respectively than normal.

Grassfires can move extremely quickly and they can threaten properties with little or no warning. This means it is important that all Canberrans and their properties are adequately prepared for the 2011-12 bushfire season.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Porter, a supplementary question.

MS PORTER: Minister, what is the government doing to prepare the territory for the risk of bushfires?

MR CORBELL: Again, I thank Ms Porter for the question. The government released its revised strategic bushfire management plan in October 2009, which identifies a wide range of activities for bushfire prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. The ACT Rural Fire Service is well prepared for the coming season. The ACT Rural Fire Service Hume helibase is now fully complete, fully functional, for the 2011-12 bushfire season.

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