Page 4422 - Week 14 - Thursday, 28 November 2013
although we could see periods of rain. Depending on whether or not that rain eventuates will have a big impact on preparedness for the bushfire season.
The outlook for grasslands reflects the recent vigorous grass growth which has continued into spring. Above average rainfall for much of the three preceding years is likely to continue the trend of heavy grass fuel loads in particular, increasing the potential for grass fires to the north and the west of the ACT. (Time expired.)
MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Smyth.
MR SMYTH: Minister, are all the paid positions in the Rural Fire Service filled?
MR CORBELL: I understand they are, but I will confirm that and provide an exact answer to the member.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Lawder.
MS LAWDER: Minister, in response to the second question from Dr Bourke I think you mentioned a hot, dry summer with some chance of rain—
Mr Gentleman: Preamble.
MADAM SPEAKER: Yes, it is very preambly.
MS LAWDER: Can you explain how that is different from any other summer?
MR CORBELL: As I indicated in my answer, in case Ms Lawder was not listening closely, what we know from the Bureau of Meteorology is that the chance that the average October to December 2013 maximum temperature will exceed the long-term median maximum temperature is above 65 per cent. So we are looking at a hotter than average summer. That is what that means.
In relation to rainfall, the Bureau of Meteorology’s assessment is that rainfall is expected to be around average, but the issue with rainfall is that it is highly variable and it is dependent on storm events. Storm events are very difficult to predict in terms of where the rain actually falls. We know even with the city we can have an intense storm event on the north side of the city and virtually no rainfall on the south side. So these are the temperature and weather conditions that the Bureau of Meteorology is predicting—a hotter than average summer.
What this means, of course, is that Canberrans need to be well prepared. They need to make sure that they have downloaded a bushfire survival plan from the ESA website and they need to make sure they have discussed bushfire preparedness with their family so they know what they are going to do in advance if a fire threatens their home or threatens their property. Having a plan to make a plan is not a plan at all; you need to have taken the steps, spoken with your family, prepared your property and understand what it is you will do if there is smoke in the air and there is a fire near your home.