Page 640 - Week 02 - Thursday, 14 February 2013

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Bushfire fighters

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development) (4.26): I move:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

I rise in the adjournment debate this evening to reflect on the dangers and the very real hazards that firefighters face in our community. There was the distressing and tragic news today that two firefighters have been killed by a falling tree. Whilst attending to and fighting the massive fire in Victoria, the so-called Harrietville fire, two firefighters from the Department of Sustainability and Environment in Victoria, were killed when a tree fell on their vehicle.

In Canberra this brings back all too clearly the tragic events surrounding the death of firefighter David Balfour of the ACT fire brigade, who died in very similar circumstances whilst on deployment with ACT firefighting personnel in the 2009 Victorian bushfires.

It is well known amongst firefighters that there are the widow-makers out there in the forests, particularly during and after a fire. These trees can fall without any warning, and often with very little sound. Before you know it, tens if not hundreds of tonnes of timber can be on top of you. Tragically, all too often we see firefighters killed in these circumstances, not from heat or flame, but from the devastating impact of a falling tree.

As we reflect on the fact that again two firefighters have lost their lives, we recall to our memory the loss of David Balfour. We know that much has come about as a result of David’s untimely passing; his widow Celia and her children have been stoic and admirable in the way they have responded to their husband and father’s untimely passing, and have sought to make much that is positive out of his tragic death. I am sure that they, and all members of the firefighting community here in the ACT and indeed the broader Canberra community, will want to express and have in their hearts and minds every condolence and best wish to the families of those who have lost loved ones in the Harrietville fire in the last 24 hours.

It is a constant reminder of the dangers faced by our firefighters when they are addressing these very large and unpredictable blazes. I am confident that the heartfelt condolences, best wishes and thoughts of all in the Canberra community, particularly in our emergency services family, are with the families, friends and colleagues of these two dedicated firefighters who have lost their lives in the last 24 hours.

Softball ACT Australia Day Carnival

MR DOSZPOT (Molonglo) (4.30): Over the Australia Day long weekend I had the pleasure of attending, as shadow minister for sport, the Softball ACT Australia Day

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