Page 2764 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 August 2015

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across the individual needs of the four services?” You do not have to. The CEO is an administrator. He runs the administration. The chiefs, whoever they are, the four service chiefs, will of course provide the technical authority and the leadership in their emergency services speciality field. That is the difference.

As I explained—perhaps you were not listening—it is like the court administrator model that we have adopted, whereby somebody manages the court’s budget and the judges deliver the justice through the system. That is what it would look like. That is the request from many people now.

What we hear from those opposite, and backed up again by Mr Rattenbury, is that this will not happen. I will not stop in my endeavours to restore the emergency services to where they should be, as an independent statutory authority of the government, not within the government, with clear lines of reporting straight to the minister, and where the service chiefs will be allowed to do their jobs properly.

I refer members to the strategic reform agenda. Any reasonable reading of it is that there are a lot of words here and there is a lot of talk about the movement of individuals, but I am not sure what the strategic reform agenda actually is. I get worried when you start with a structure that had four services, and now we have the commissioner, the executive unit, an executive support unit, and you have gone from four to seven headings. You have ACT Ambulance Service, ACT Fire & Rescue, ACT State Emergency Service, ACT Rural Fire Service, executive people and culture, executive risk and planning and executive logistics and governance. And remember what the UFU says:

The creation of three executive positions to oversee support services cannot be supported in relation to improved efficiencies and effectiveness and will not improve emergency services to the people of the ACT.

They are saying that there is a move away from the service chiefs and their operational independence to a collective model under the control of the commissioner and that it should not be tolerated.

This is too important an issue to get wrong. We have learnt those mistakes, hopefully; we saw some of the outcomes in 2003 when the lessons of the 2001 Christmas Eve fire were ignored. Thirteen months later, we were visited again by a much larger tragedy. Again from the correspondence from the UFU, it would appear that the minister refuses to learn. She has got her head in the sand on this. The request for leadership will go unanswered simply because Minister Burch is not a leader, does not show leadership and is not up to the management of her portfolio.

This motion should be supported. It is the right thing to do. It allows us to put operational command back into the hands of the professionals in charge of the services while at the same time providing them with the support they need to deliver the best service to the people of the ACT. This motion should be supported by all in this place today.

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