Page 516 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 13 February 2013

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(a) the significant improvements in bushfire preparedness since the 2003 Canberra bushfires;

(b) the development and implementation of the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan to manage and mitigate bushfire risk; and

(c) the increased investment in bushfire response capability including vehicles, facilities, communications and training;

(2) commends the hard work of our Emergency Services Agency staff and volunteers who provide crucial community support in times of an emergency like a bushfire; and

(3) acknowledges the recent successful operation to deal with the extreme fire danger day on 8 January 2013.

Mr Assistant Speaker, 18 January 2013 marked the 10-year anniversary of the devastating and tragic 2003 Canberra bushfires. That day in 2003 will never be forgotten by Canberrans. An extreme convergence of firestorms resulted in the deaths of four ACT residents and the burning of 164,000 hectares, nearly 70 per cent of land in the territory. Over 500 houses and most of the Mount Stromlo Observatory were destroyed. There was fire damage to a further 315 houses and major damage to various infrastructure and facilities across the city.

Ninety per cent of Namadgi national park was burnt, and severe fire damage occurred to the Tidbinbilla nature reserve, the Murrumbidgee River corridor, the Stromlo pine plantation and pine plantations west of the Murrumbidgee River. The fires also affected the ACT’s water catchment and, as a result, Canberra’s water supply.

In 2003 the government commissioned an inquiry by the former Commonwealth Ombudsman, Mr Ron McLeod, into the preparation for and the operational responses to those bushfires. On 4 August 2003 the then Chief Minister, on behalf of the government, accepted the report’s findings and committed to implementing the 61 recommendations. On 19 December 2006 the then ACT Coroner, Ms Doogan, delivered her report and made a total of 73 recommendations, which were wide and varied. In February 2007, the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Mr Simon Corbell, announced that the government agreed with the majority of the recommendations put forward by Ms Doogan.

Following the McLeod report and the Doogan coronial inquiry, the government also requested the ACT Bushfire Council to undertake a review of the implementation of the government’s agreed recommendations. The independent report was tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly on 18 August 2009. The Bushfire Council review acknowledged that the majority of the recommendations of the two reports overlapped to some degree, and found that 108 of the 122 recommendations had been actioned at that time.

The Bushfire Council review also identified further actions to ensure full implementation of the earlier recommendations. To substantially address these

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