Page 916 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 20 March 2012

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OHS Liaison Officer funding—Review, prepared by the Chair, Work Safety Council, dated November 2011.

Mr Corbell presented the following papers:

Petitions which do not conform with the standing orders—

University of Canberra—Japanese Language Program—Ms Bresnan (1076 signatures).

Tuggeranong Town Square—Increased security—Mr Corbell (286 signatures).

Emergency Services Agency—response times

Ministerial statement

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development), by leave: The ACT community owes the ACT State Emergency Service volunteers and others involved in response to the recent storm and flood activity a debt of gratitude. As Minister for Police and Emergency Services, I would like to place on record ACT Labor’s strong support—and the government’s strong support—of our emergency service volunteers and all of those who responded to the call for assistance. They deserve the highest level of recognition for their professional, timely and coordinated response to recent extreme weather events experienced in the ACT and the surrounding region.

The outstanding response serves to highlight the invaluable role our volunteers undertake in providing assistance to the Canberra community 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The ACT Emergency Services Agency, comprising the ACT Ambulance Service, ACT Fire and Rescue, the Rural Fire Service and the State Emergency Service, along with the ESA support services, stand ready to respond to the community’s needs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The ESA are made up of paid staff and volunteers who are dedicated to helping their fellow Canberrans in their time of need.

As of 31 December last year, the ESA was supported by 1,575 volunteers from the RFS, the SES, community fire units and our mapping and planning support volunteers. Our volunteers give willingly of their time to maintain community safety and assist the Canberra community with recovery following emergencies. By its very nature, much of the work undertaken by volunteers can be inherently dangerous and is often conducted in the worst possible weather and, indeed, stressful circumstances.

From the period 28 February to 6 March this year the ACT experienced prolonged extreme weather conditions resulting in widespread, if fortunately low level, flooding and an unprecedented number of calls from the Canberra community for assistance. The Bureau of Meteorology had predicted heavy rain to occur across the ACT from 28 February. In anticipation the ESA prepared for this weather event by making appropriate warnings to the ACT public through media alerts and preparing ESA staff and volunteers, as well as the other emergency services, for response activities.

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