Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 May 2017) . . Page.. 1619 ..
the rationale behind the changes in 2011 and, for the benefit of the community, how the bushfire abatement zone is controlled both in regard to fuel reduction burning and in the event of a fire being within metres or kilometres of built-up areas in the ACT.
That goes considerably further than Mr Gentleman’s amendment to this motion which simply requires him to come back and explain how bushfire abatement zones are controlled in planning and operations and procedures. Certainly the intent of what we are trying to ascertain here is the rationale behind why changes were made to the bushfire abatement zones back in 2011.
Quite simply, my amendment is accepting all the changes that Mr Gentleman put to Mrs Jones’s original motion but is simply seeking to maintain that he comes back to explain these matters to members of this place and, more importantly, to the community of the ACT. There is a very keen interest in the ACT community about the importance of managing bushfire abatement zones, particularly for the many Canberrans who were affected in the 2003 bushfires. I think there are very few people in the ACT community who do not know of someone directly or indirectly involved in some way, shape or form, in the tragedy that befell this city back in 2003.
Even from my experience, there was considerable controversy over the management of bushfire abatement zones in the Uriarra Village when the solar farm was proposed there. That would have seen a substantial, large-scale solar farm put right on the doorsteps of the homes there sitting well within the bushfire abatement zone.
As I have already outlined, the simple crux of this is making sure that the rationale behind those 2011 changes is made transparent, made open to Canberrans. I can only think of, as Mr Rattenbury alluded to before, the words of wisdom that Mr Smyth may have brought to this debate on the importance of having the transparency and the accountability of the minister coming into the Assembly and explaining why changes to such a critical piece of a protection barrier to the ACT has been changed over time and what the purpose of that is.
As the amendment has been circulated now, I move the amendment circulated in my name:
Insert new paragraph (3)(a):
“(a) the rationale behind the 2011 changes and to explain, for the benefit of the community, how BAZ is controlled both in regards to fuel reduction burning and in the event of a fire being within metres or kilometres of built-up areas;”.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (6.06): We now find ourselves in a difficult position where Minister Gentleman, as the responsible minister, has had to leave the chamber. I think members were aware that Minister Gentleman had a commitment this evening from about 6 o’clock, and the plan was that he would move his amendment and then leave. He has now, to my understanding, left the building; so we find ourselves in a challenging position.