Page 525 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 13 February 2013

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Most striking has been the award received by the ESA at the Resilient Australia Awards in November 2012 for its single point of truth campaign. Promoting the ESA’s social media, online media and other media presence as the single point of truth, the place to go to get clear, accurate and timely advice on emergencies, was recognised nationally in the Resilient Australia Awards.

The type of deployment that is occurring as a result of the single point of truth includes significant upgrades to our online media presence, both through the website presence, but also through Twitter and Facebook. We have seen a considerable response from the community. We see more and more members of the community turning to social media for information and looking for that advice from our emergency services.

We have seen big increases in the number of people subscribing to these different forms of social media. For example, just during the elevated fire danger period in January this year, social media statistics showed that likes on Facebook went from 1,800 to nearly 8,000 and the number of followers on Twitter went from 4,200 to 5,200, now sitting at around 5,300. So there was a really big increase in people using social media to get their information.

This is a global trend, an Australia-wide trend, we are seeing in the emergency service space. We are seeing this very effectively deployed in Queensland by Queensland police in particular. They have an enormous social media presence. What we are seeing now is that social media is acting as a more timely source of information than the traditional messaging which can occur through the issuing of a media statement and normal, more traditional, distribution to media outlets, as important as that remains.

Finally, I would like to talk about the very important work that Fire and Rescue do, particularly in supporting the community fire units program. Of course, the government has invested significant resources in building the community fire units program. We now have 50 CFUs across the city with approximately 1,000 volunteers engaged in those 50 units, 48 of which are active. We are also providing significant support to Fire and Rescue directly in terms of upgrades to equipment, rescue material, bush firefighter clothing, breathing apparatus and vehicles. There are some very important investments there.

Finally, I am very proud of the work we have done in upgrading the ESA vehicle fleet. We have seen 11 new ACT Fire and Rescue vehicles deployed, 12 community fire units, 18 ambulance vehicles, 26 RFS vehicles replaced, six SES vehicles and one general ESA vehicle. It is a real demonstration of the government’s commitment to greater equipment on the ground.

Thanks, Dr Bourke, for bringing this motion to the attention of the Assembly today.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (5.25): It is an important motion, and, again, I would also thank Dr Bourke for bringing it on. I am not sure who put his speech together, but perhaps they should have delved a little deeper into some of the things that did happen and then were undone.

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