Page 3396 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 18 September 2013
I do not think that is such a big request. The work, if it has not been done, should be done. If the audit is not complete, then complete it. If you have got a requirement under the law to do something, then you should do it. And there is an explicit acknowledgement in the plan that was brought out in 2009 that it requires additional funding. Then you need to get the funding.
The report states:
The resourcing of this Plan may require additional funding and will be determined in the context of the whole-of-government budget considerations over the life of the Plan.
If this is a five-year plan and it finishes next year, then, obviously, it has not been done. And so it calls into doubt the minister’s will or the minister’s ability to be a proper minister for emergency services.
These are important issues. There are still people who bear the scars, physical and psychological, of what happened 10 years ago. And on days when there is smoke in the air I still get phone calls from people saying, “What’s going on? What’s happening?” I know people who are very nervous still about what happened in 2003. And I think it is important that they can look at the service and say that the government has given the service what is required.
I acknowledge the service, I acknowledge the full-time professional officers and the work they do, and particularly I acknowledge the volunteers. I note Minister Corbell is coming to the Guises Creek bushfire brigade’s 20th anniversary celebration on 12 October this year. There are a lot of volunteers out there who know what is required. We have got a council who knows what is required. And I would ask members to look at this motion and say it is not unreasonable to ask the government to comply with the law and do so in a timely fashion.
Their self-acknowledgement in their own plan is from 2009, four years ago, that they would have to do this, and it has not been done. It is not unreasonable that the minister comply with this over the next two months, particularly, I think, given the fire season that we are facing, with the warm winter that we have had and the lack of rain—although the last couple of days has put a dint in the lack of rain. If the rain does not continue, all that will have done is promoted some spring growth and added to the fuel burden.
This is a reasonable motion. It is a reasonable request. It brings the government into compliance with the law. And I ask the Assembly for their support.
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) (5.05): While I acknowledge the issues that Mr Smyth raises in his motion today, the motion is, from the government’s perspective, completely unnecessary. Indeed, as Mr Smyth has outlined in his own motion, the Justice and Community Safety Directorate has already agreed to the