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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 12 August 2015) . . Page.. 2759 ..

(d) the amendments to the Emergencies Act 2004, which strengthen the coordination of operational services during emergencies;

(e) the work the Commissioner is doing, with the support of the Chief Officers, to restructure the agency through the Strategic Reform Agenda;

(f) the All Staff letter signed by all Chief Officers on 17 July 2015 supporting the Strategic Reform Agenda and the proposed changes to the executive structure; and

(g) the Canberra Liberals’ continuing attacks on the structure of the ESA and its trained and dedicated staff; and

(2) calls on the Government to provide regular updates to the Assembly on the implementation of the Strategic Reform Agenda.”.

I take this opportunity to put an absolute call of gratitude and thanks to all the volunteers and to the ESA officers—the men and women that step out and do the right thing when we need help. The least we can do in this place is treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.45): The issue of making the ESA an independent statutory agency is one that Mr Smyth has brought to the Assembly before during this term. I recall that the last time was at the end of 2013. At that time I said to Mr Smyth that to change the ESA in such a way was a major change and a change that would significantly restructure how the government provides emergency services to the community. I recall noting that it was hard to support proposals like that when they are essentially sprung on the Assembly with less than 24 hours notice. So I say again that whilst I am happy to talk about these proposals, if we are serious about restructuring the ESA there would need to be a much deeper conversation about the perceived concerns and what a new structure might look like.

I have been in the Assembly since 2008, and I am aware that there is quite a history concerning the management model of the ESA. In the past the ESA had been a separate statutory authority, as has been noted today. The McLeod inquiry following the 2003 bushfires looked at the structure of the emergency services bureau and, amongst many other things, recommended that a new statutory authority should be established. The McLeod inquiry said it would be separate from and independent of any department of state and would be outside the public service.

Importantly, though, as I noted last time when we talked about the same issue, the McLeod report suggested that the prime concerns were cultural problems of the old establishment. It is over 10 years since that report was handed down, and we are clearly in a different time.

Following the report, the Emergency Services Authority was established in 2004 and it sat outside the public service. My understanding is that a few years later the ESA was altered to its current form. This was in 2006, post functional review, and it was placed under the administrative control of the Justice and Community Safety

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