Page 3703 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 23 October 2013
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.
DR BOURKE: Minister, what are the arrangements for non-government schools in this matter?
MS BURCH: I thank Dr Bourke for his interest in this. Whilst we have no direct responsibility for the independent schools or, indeed, the Catholic schools, it is important that they are aware and certainly they are part of the conversation about community preparedness around community safety. It is something that I think, as we, the broader community, look to what is happening in New South Wales, always brings to mind very clear messaging about being prepared and ready for this. And I am quite happy to have a conversation with the Catholic system and the independent schools system to ensure that their school communities are equally prepared.
MR CORBELL: If I could add, again, to that answer, the elevated fire danger planning arrangements include the identification and notification points into the non-government school sector. The non-government school sector have nominated, as I understand it, contact points for emergency services to contact them and advise them of decisions.
Obviously, the approach, with elevated fire danger, is not about evacuation; it is about decisions as to whether or not schools open on particular days. That is what has happened in the Blue Mountains today. The authorities have taken the decision that it would not be wise to have the schools operating on an elevated fire danger day. Therefore, the decision has been taken early and notice given to families that the school will be closed as part of the broader community preparedness that is being put in the Blue Mountains. And it is the same planning framework here.
What we have to do is avoid the need for evacuation. Evacuation in the middle of a fire, as a fire is bearing down on a community, is the worst possible scenario to try to manage. So the elevated fire planning framework is about early evacuation for those people who are resident and avoiding opening if that is appropriate. (Time expired.)
DR BOURKE: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, what is the government’s objective in developing the city plan, which is currently out for public consultation?
MS GALLAGHER: I thank Dr Bourke for the question. The ACT government is preparing a plan to ensure the city centre can grow to meet our changing needs and aspirations. We released the draft city plan on Monday. This looks at issues of how the city grows when it reaches a population of 500,000 and beyond. We have to plan for the key infrastructure and, of course, major recreation and cultural facilities that go along with developing our city’s heart.
Over many years separate and distinct plans have been made by both the ACT and the Australian governments to establish the future character, growth and development of