Page 3005 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 14 August 2013
that the framework for managing bushfires is a robust one and that there has been substantive improvement since 2003 and commends our Emergency Services for the work they have done to make sure our city is better prepared than ever before to deal with the threat of bushfire in the coming years.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Smyth.
MR SMYTH: Minister, given the rapid approach of the next fire season, when will the government take action to implement these high priority recommendations so that we do not continue to hear them in repetition?
MR CORBELL: The ESA has a comprehensive program of ongoing improvement and implementation to ensure we are ready for every bushfire season. I think our emergency services demonstrated that beyond question in January this year when we saw a series of lightning strikes in Namadgi National Park with about 48 hours before dangerous, very hot, heightened-fire-danger weather conditions arrived that would have pushed any fire from the north and north west towards the urban area. Our response demonstrated that we have learnt the lessons. Our response demonstrated that we had the capability, the organisational strength, the people on the ground and the systems to get those fires out. And we got them out through rapid, aggressive attack so that they did not spread when the wind change arrived and they did not present a danger to our city. That, above all else, is a very clear indication of how well we have learnt from 2003 and how well prepared and how hard our emergency services work to be prepared for those types of circumstances.
MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Wall.
MR WALL: Minister, why does your government continue to ignore the advice of experts and independent reviewers with regard to bushfire preparedness?
MR CORBELL: We do not.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Wall.
MR WALL: Minister, why does your government continue to fail in its duty to the people of Canberra to have proper bushfire mitigation systems in place?
MR CORBELL: Fail in our duty, Madam Speaker? What is the overriding duty? To get the fire out. That is the overriding duty. And what happened in January this year? The fires were put out, and they were put out promptly. They were put out aggressively. They were put out because of the investment this government has put into equipment, into communications, into training, into helicopters, into vehicles on the ground, into lightning detection systems. That is what the real test is: did the fires get put out? Did they get put out before the dangerous north-westerly wind change arrived? Yes, they did.
DR BOURKE: My question is to the Minister for the Arts. Minister, can you update the Assembly on the progress of the capital upgrade of the Street Theatre to turn it