Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 May 2017) . . Page.. 1617 ..
bushfires that he had to attend as part of his role as an ACT Fire & Rescue officer. I know many members of the volunteer bushfire brigade who attend grassfires, bushfires and spot fires, including our recent New South Wales Carwoola fire. These are all really vital roles that members of our ACT Fire & Rescue and our Rural Fire Service play in supporting the role that they do protecting the ACT.
The bushfire abatement zone is a very interesting and technical term. It is sometimes a little difficult for everyone to get their head around it. It is really interesting that it is being talked about tonight again. As I believe Mr Rattenbury has already stated, it gets talked about quite often. I am looking forward to Minister Gentleman bringing back some information at our sitting in August to help look at how we can do things better and what is currently being undertaken.
I listened very carefully to what Minister Gentleman raised today with regard to his amendment. It was really interesting. I am very glad to hear that the government continues to keep Canberra fire-ready. Canberra being fire-ready is something that we all must adhere to. We are, as noted, the bush capital. Over 50 per cent of our lovely city is in a bushfire zone, so it is vital that we have the ESA commissioner, the ACT Fire & Rescue commissioner and the head of the Rural Fire Service always working together to ensure that Canberra is safe, protected and free from a terrible tragedy like the 2003 bushfires.
Our career firefighters are amazing. They are wonderful people and they do an incredible job, running into burning buildings every day. Well, maybe not every day in the ACT, but when they are around they do do it. Our volunteer firefighters are also an incredible bunch of people. They get out there in their own free time and protect our community. The UFU is a wonderful union that helps support our firefighters to do their job on a regular basis.
It is very distracting when our emergency services have to worry about people arguing about how they do their job. We have these wonderful firefighters who are doing their job every day, and do it well, and we need to support them in every way we have available to us. I continue to meet with both active ACT Fire & Rescue members, as well as our Rural Fire Service members, and listen to their stories, their concerns—and sometimes their great support of our government and what it is doing—and about their jobs, as well as some of the things that they do in their day-to-day lives.
As we know, Labor’s policy on fire is to save lives, save properties and put out fires. It is very important that we continue to do that in a safe and active environment. I welcome Minister Gentleman’s response back to the Assembly in August.
MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (5.56): I too rise to briefly contribute to this debate on what is an extremely important issue. I would like to thank Mrs Jones for raising this critical issue. When it comes down to it, the defence and protection of citizens is a core responsibility of the government. Of course, the parliament’s role is to ensure that the government is representative and is reflecting the will of Canberrans. That is why this motion is so important. Mrs Jones has moved this motion today to make sure that something which is so central to our responsibilities as legislators and as Canberrans is very much on the agenda. If