Page 4036 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 30 October 2013
are understaffing these vehicles because we cannot get our processes right. Another procurement disaster lauded over by this minister!
Then, of course, we have the Rural Fire Service. On the replacement of the deputy officer as per section 53 of the Emergencies Act, again, staff were told the deputy officer would not be replaced and that the money would be assigned to do the review of the strategic bushfire management plan, in contravention of the act. I bet suddenly we will have somebody acting in the job. I understand it will be the operations officer. How, approaching the fire season that we are potentially facing, can you ask the ops officer to be the deputy chief officer at the same time? It does not sound like good management to me, minister. Another one of your failures!
Of course, there is the debacle of the close-call, on-call allowances. The close-call allowance is for the duty officer who is meant to be on close call. So if the call comes, he is there. It is about $50,000 a year. It was scrapped without consultation, which meant that members were then allowed to go to the on-call allowance. I understand when you get called out that you immediately get an hour’s overtime, or whatever the period is, if you claim it. Because they have now scrapped the close-call allowance, apparently they have had a blow-out in the on-call costs which is now costing them more. So, again, poor management, minister, that rests at your feet!
I have asked about this before, but the availability of trained incident management officers is a real concern. Yes, a number of people have the IMT qualification, but they have not upgraded, they have not gone to refreshers or they have not exercised the skills they need to exercise. You can count heads and you can give me names any day you want, but the question is: do they have the experience to do the job in a bad season? People are telling me that there are real concerns. I understand funds for training in the RFS have virtually been squashed and there are concerns that the middle level managers and the incident managers are not getting the training and the experience they need and are not attending some of the national functions of organisations they belong to, as a cost-cutting measure. Relationships made at those meetings so that in an emergency you can ring your opposite number in another jurisdiction are vital, and that is being stymied.
The McLeod report said we should have two bulk water carriers. Apparently we are down to one. Of course, there is the movement of the only heavy fire tanker at the TNR across to Googong. The lack of clarity when we asked questions about this the other day was startling. These are important issues the minister should answer. I have given him to November to do so. I ask the Assembly to commend the motion.
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) (5.18): I am sure that if there was a malfunctioning drinks machine at the ESA headquarters I would be held responsible for it by Mr Smyth opposite. He seems to have a remarkable understanding—unique, I would suggest—about the role of a minister when it comes to the day-to-day management of our emergency services. Believe it or not, I do not check and make sure that the oil is put into the tankers when they go through their service. Believe it or not, I do not check that the batteries are charged for the radios. It is not my job to