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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 February 2015) . . Page.. 544 ..

if no work has been done on the privately owned building then it can be a bit incongruous. I am very keen to explore an approach where there is a stronger partnership and we say, “If we’re going to do the job, let’s do it properly.” I have asked TAMS to work on looking at a model there. We will still need to be mindful that in some areas there might not be private investment to be had, and we cannot let those areas just drop off the list and be left to deteriorate without support. We will need to find a way to balance those two things. But I think there is certainly scope for that co-investment.

In terms of the build-up of combustible material in urban open spaces, I would like to assure the Assembly that the significant rain throughout January has resulted in low fire dangers across the territory. Grass curing, or drying, reduced from 70 per cent to 50 per cent, which has in turn reduced the likelihood of grassfires at this time. So the actual risk has dropped.

The longer term seasonal outlook is unclear at this stage and TAMS is working with the Bureau of Meteorology to keep as up to date as possible. Urban open space is continually monitored for combustible material build-up, and as yet the percentage has not reached a concern due to the moisture content of the material.

What I can say, though, is that TAMS is preparing a series of controlled burns across the territory, a number of which will be in the Belconnen region, but currently all the sites are too green and too wet to burn. TAMS has been in consultation with the Rural Fire Service and agreement has been reached to commence the autumn burning program earlier than usual, in February, should conditions be warm enough to induce the drying of fuels and yet benign enough to allow us to safely consider introducing fire into the landscape.

I go into some detail here to simply highlight for the Assembly both the dynamic nature of fire protection in the territory but also to give members that information so that, if constituents are concerned, they have the information to reassure them that TAMS is monitoring this closely. Because of the rainfall, the actual fire danger is quite low. The grass may look thicker or longer, but because of the moisture content it does not represent the fire risk that the perhaps untrained eye might be concerned about.

In terms of potholes, members may have noticed a recent story in the paper. In the last two years TAMS has adjusted its program. The previous performance mark was to fix potholes within seven days. That is now within 24 hours, because it improves safety on our roads. It has actually resulted in a 70 per cent drop in complaints about road pavements and has resulted in a significant drop in the number of insurance claims against the ACT government. I think that is one of those very practical changes that we have been able to make in TAMS that have a positive benefit for our community.

Mrs Dunne has called on the government to reprioritise the upkeep of the urban amenity of Belconnen. This is always an interesting question. Next week Mr Doszpot will have one for us to prioritise the inner south of Canberra, as he has done before. What I can say to this Assembly is that the government does not prioritise any parts of Canberra. The government delivers for all parts of Canberra. We are not going down some parochial pathway. We are delivering to all of Canberra.

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