Page 4420 - Week 14 - Thursday, 28 November 2013

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MS GALLAGHER: The private obstetricians could respond by ensuring that it was not expensive to have a baby in the private system, which is what is pushing women into the public system—

Mr Hanson interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Order, Mr Hanson!

MS GALLAGHER: There is some amelioration of that and the bed occupancy at the centenary hospital is now at 83 per cent, which is entirely manageable.


DR BOURKE: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Minister, can you please outline to the Assembly the ACT’s preparations for the bushfire season?

MR CORBELL: I thank Dr Bourke for the question. Under the Emergencies Act, the ACT bushfire season commenced this year on 1 October. I am pleased to advise the Assembly that the ACT Rural Fire Service, together with the broader Emergency Services Agency, has undertaken significant preparations for this year’s bushfire season. These activities include a full servicing of the response fleet across the Rural Fire Service and ACT Fire and Rescue, the completion of the 2012-13 bushfire operational plan, the commencement of the new 2013-14 bushfire operational plan, the training of over 130 new, additional RFS volunteers, and conducting preparedness workshops and forums for all volunteers and our paid firefighters in Territory and Municipal Services, in parks brigade.

A new memorandum of understanding has been put in place between the ESA and TAMS in relation to cooperation in relation to bushfire management matters. There has been an update of the existing memorandum of understanding between the ESA and the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, an important component of our cross-border cooperation. There has been updating of mutual aid agreements with surrounding New South Wales Rural Fire Service areas—again, critical for fires that are needing assistance cross-border in either direction. And there has been the attendance of relevant personnel at New South Wales Rural Fire Service state and regional pre-season briefings. These are all important procedural steps that need to be put in place to ensure that our emergency services are well prepared for the forthcoming fire period.

It is also worth highlighting that we have seen some additional vehicles included in the ACT Rural Fire Service fleet. Two new medium tankers were delivered for the fleet under the 2012-13 vehicle replacement program budget. These were placed into service in October this year. One new heavy tanker was also delivered for the ACT Rural Fire Service from this program. That was placed into service in February this year.

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