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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 9 June 2016) . . Page.. 1993 ..

managers. The amendments will allow the bushfire abatement zone to do its job whilst also allowing us to simplify and clarify the parameters for the relevant operational response and control responsibilities of the respective fire services.

This is important work that needs to be done. The physical structure of our city is unique, with urban areas interspersed with significant areas of native woodland or grassland. It is appropriate that we ensure that the built-up area in particular operates in a logical way that reflects the reality of a number of those areas being very close to the urban interface.

That said, I want to make it very clear that the government’s position and that of the ESA is unchanged when it comes to operational response. Operational response will be driven by the nearest and most appropriate unit at all times, regardless of which service it comes from. It might be a Fire & Rescue unit, it might be an RFS volunteer unit or it might be a unit from the parks brigade of the RFS. These are appropriate response arrangements that see the nearest and most appropriate unit dispatched to deal with a fire call.

Finally, it is worth highlighting that this bill does a range of other things, all of which are worthy. In particular it clarifies the penalty arrangements for total fire ban days. That is very important. It clarifies the capacity to prohibit other activities that, whilst they do not involve lighting a fire directly, could result in a fire igniting, such as welding, grinding, soldering and grass cutting. That is an important power to place in the legislation, to prohibit such activity on extremely dangerous fire weather days.

It provides a practical amendment for the issues that deal with permission to interfere with fire appliances. This, I believe, is an important change because at the moment there is no clarity around how you deal with the offence provisions when you come to maintain a fire hydrant or a fire alarm or undertake other work in a building that might otherwise trigger a fire alarm if it was not decommissioned for a short period. These simplify and resolve those issues.

I would like to thank members for their comments on this bill. I want to restate the government’s view that this is an important piece of legislation that has not come out of the blue, and it is wrong to say that it has not been the subject of any consultation. The review process dates back a number of years. The issues arising from that review and the consultation undertaken around it have informed the development of this bill. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Clauses 1 to 4, by leave, taken together.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (7.44): As always, Mr Corbell is good at taking half of what you say and then twisting it to use against you. I am quite aware of the

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