Page 531 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

completed since 2003 by staff from across the ACT Parks and Conservation Service. I would like to thank them and the ACT firefighters for their work in suppressing the fire because it meant that the impact on the habitat of northern corroboree frogs was absolutely minimised.

In December I was lucky enough to be taken out to Ginini Flats to look at the bogs and the corroborree frog habitat. I was very impressed by the recovery the area had made since the 2003 fires which had a terrible impact. Although 26 hectares of land was burnt in Namadgi national park on 8 January, the fire front stopped within metres of the significant Ginini Flats, a wetland of international significance listed under the Ramsar convention.

In conclusion, I would simply wrap up by saying that the severe hot weather in January highlighted the importance of fire preparation work and the hazard reduction program to ensure the territory remains prepared for future bushfires. I think it is fair to say the effectiveness and respect of the ACT Parks and Conservation fire management unit can be attributed to many years of hard work, leadership and teamwork. The fire management unit are highly respected and often requested to assist with interstate and international deployments. Indeed, they are so well trained in forest fires in both remote areas and on the forest and rural land interface that 10 people from the fire management unit will be deployed at the end of this week to support the current fire effort in Victoria. They will be heading there for three weeks.

Mr Smyth touched on this, but I would like to note that the funding for the national bushfire CRC will be ending as of 1 July this year, which is a great disappointment, as we know how complex fire management and prevention is. It is only through such collaboration, analysis of various strategies and techniques and long-term planning that we are now truly getting better at bushfire mitigation and management across the country. I think that is particularly the case in the ACT.

Coming back to the heart of this motion, the government has worked hard at long-term planning. Certainly, since I have become the minister and have had a particular responsibility and interest in this area I have been impressed by the dedicated work of a range of people across the ACT government to ensure that the territory is as well prepared as it can be.

I know that Mr Corbell recently pointed out that the ACT government cannot fireproof the ACT. We are lucky to live in the bush capital and, while we can mitigate the risk, we cannot prevent or stop bushfires completely from breaking out. We need to do our best to minimise the likelihood of fires and the effects of those fires—around our houses, around the urban fringes and in appropriate places through both our nature parks and national parks.

My amendment simply adds to Dr Bourke’s motion a particular acknowledgement of the work done through the ACT Parks and Conservation staff. Around 150 or so staff are engaged. There is the regular staff and then a big team that are engaged on a seasonal basis. I would commend my amendment to the Assembly to acknowledge that particular effort. I now move the amendment:

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video