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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 August 2018) . . Page.. 3266 ..

I will take considerable time to read the documentation. I hope that the documentation that is on the ACT Health website is easy to locate and to navigate. If the minister has not tabled the March-April version of the health-wide data system review, I will seek leave of the Assembly to move a motion in relation to that.

MS FITZHARRIS (Yerrabi—Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Minister for Transport and City Services and Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research) (10.57), in reply: I note Mrs Dunne’s proposed motion. I will be happy to table that version. In doing that, I believe that Mrs Dunne need not move her motion. I will do that by the close of business today.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bushfire season 2018-19

Ministerial statement

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Urban Renewal) (10.57): I rise to report to the Assembly about the 2018-19 bushfire season in the ACT. Our territory has a history of severe and damaging bushfires, both locally and regionally. More recently, changes in climate have contributed further to the threat of bushfire in the region.

Madam Speaker, we cannot escape the realities of climate change, the harm a warming planet brings. Expert scientists have warned of drier winters and narrower windows in which to conduct hazard reduction burns. In a 2016 report, the Climate Council found that over the past 40 years or so extreme fire weather has increased in large parts of Australia, including in our region. The council noted that in New South Wales and the ACT the fire seasons have started earlier and lasted longer than before. It also reported that the total economic costs of bushfires for New South Wales and the ACT is estimated to be approximately $100 million per year and will more than double by the middle of this century.

This is why it is important that we not only prepare for the current threats but make a concerted effort to tackle climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, an area that this government is leading in and will continue to lead in. It is also important to ensure that we are taking the best possible approach to preparing for bushfire threats. The ACT’s bushfire season is governed by provisions in the Emergencies Act 2004. This act outlines that the season will run from 1 October in any given year through to 31 March the following year, unless conditions warrant a change to that time frame. This is decided by the ACT Emergency Services Agency Commissioner, the ESA Commissioner, in consultation with the ACT Bushfire Council.

After consultation and reviewing the current conditions, the ESA Commissioner has declared the bushfire season will commence early, on 1 September, this year. On 6 August this year, the Queanbeyan-Palerang council, to our east, advised that due to the ongoing dry conditions in the region, they have brought forward their bushfire danger period to start on 1 September 2018. Just last week a total fire ban was

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