Page 2052 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 2 August 2016

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four-years-old at the time, I remember it well with the locals fighting it with bushes and bags. From then to today I have fought many fires. I was actually chairman of the statutory ACT Bushfire Council for over 10 years in the days when the ACT Bushfire Council was a successful independent statutory authority. So I think that I know a bit about bushfires and their management.

Unfortunately, with the advent of self-government politicians and bureaucrats could not tolerate the successful independence of the Bushfire Council. So bushfire management was transferred to bureaucrats. No longer were those with most to lose responsible for operational management. Straight away red tape burgeoned and our original successful prime objective of early detection and rapid initial response went out the window, spawning backside-covering and missed opportunities.

The resulting disaster was the 2003 fires when the fires were allowed to claim five lives and 500 houses. Those lightning strikes should have been and could have been brought under control within 24 hours of their ignition. The cruellest part is that the management of bushfires in the ACT is now many times worse than it was in 2003. And you know what? People at the top do not care.

However, an active, vibrant rural community like Tharwa does not ask for much but expects a bit of respect, which has been completely lacking since self-government. Surely it is time for an ACT government to take a deep breath, open its eyes, look a bit outside the concrete bunker in Civic and recognise that there is an important rural part to the ACT.

I would like to finish by thanking all the great people of our community and particularly my wife Dorothy, who has supported me for over 50 years. I am thankful for all the support that our precious community has given us. Please keep safe.


The following petition was lodged for presentation, by Mrs Dunne, from 113 residents:

Page playground facilities—petition No 5-16

To the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory

This petition of certain residents of the Australian Capital Territory draws to the attention of the Assembly that playground facilities on the comer of Knaggs Crescent and Birrell Street, Page ACT are inadequate, out-dated and unsafe. This playground receives a substantial amount of patronage from many young families and their children who live in the immediate area and cannot meet demand.

Your petitioners therefore request the Assembly to upgrade the existing playground facility to reflect the amount of patronage the current equipment receives with the option of including a BBQ recreational area.

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