Page 3004 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 14 August 2013
eligible pensioner and concession card holders and, of course, for everyone in the ACT through abolishing the tax on insurance.
MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Dr Bourke.
DR BOURKE: Treasurer, what sort of consultation does this targeted assistance strategy stem from?
MR BARR: I thank Dr Bourke for the question. The government sought extensive consultation with the community sector, with agencies and organisations who, as part of their day-to-day work, are assisting people and households in need. We have consulted widely within ACT government as well to garner the good ideas of people who work within the ACT public service delivering services to Canberrans.
That consultation has extended to people who have an interest in the interaction of federal payments and the national tax system with the territory’s own taxation system, looking at things like effective marginal taxation rates, working also with organisations who are delivering services such as providing food to households in need.
It has been an extensive consultation process that has led to this policy strategy and to the particular outcomes of the 2013-14 budget. I am very pleased that this budget, delivered by a Labor government, ensures that those who are most in need receive the support that they deserve.
MR SMYTH: My question is to the minister for emergency services. Minister, of the 24 recommendations in the Auditor-General’s report on the ACT’s bushfire preparedness, six were identified as high priority. They relate to the following: preparation and approval of bushfire operational plans; across-government project management; land management agreements; ACT Rural Fire Service brigades; strategic bushfire capability; and competency training and incident management team capability. Minister, why are we still getting recommendations from the Auditor-General in 2013 that are very similar to those made nearly a decade ago by the McLeod commission and Coroner Doogan?
MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Smyth for the question. The Auditor-General’s response in her audit, as I have said before, is a strong endorsement of the framework and the capability of our Emergency Services and the fact that we have come a very long way since 2003. The Auditor-General makes that observation herself—that there has been substantial improvement in the delivery of emergency services since the terrible bushfires of January 2003.
So let us be in no doubt about the complete context in which the Auditor-General made her observations about areas for further improvement. As I have said before, the government always welcomes audit conclusions that identify areas for ongoing improvement in the management of different areas of government operations. This one is no different. But the Auditor-General herself has said clearly and unequivocally