Page 4852 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 27 November 2018

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MR GENTLEMAN: The ACT’s emergency framework is viewed as best practice in emergency management. The ESA commissioner must prepare a strategic bushfire management plan setting out the strategies through which the government and the community will reduce the risks of bushfire in the ACT.

Hazard reduction burns are one of many important activities undertaken and since the 2003 fires a comprehensive program of hazard reduction burns has been implemented across the ACT by the parks and conservation service. Other mitigation activities undertaken by PCS and other agencies include slashing, grazing, mowing, physical removal of vegetation and trail upgrades and maintenance. Overall, 97 per cent of the activities in the bushfire operational plan were completed for the 2017-18 year, and this year’s plan is being implemented.

While the ESA and government directorates are well prepared for the risks that the ACT may face, preparation for bushfire, storms and heatwaves is everybody’s responsibility. The ESA conducts a range of community education preparedness activities under the banner of the Canberra be ready campaign, providing practical ways in which every Canberra resident can prepare themselves, their families and their homes for the dangers of an Australian summer.

As we approach what is anticipated to be a hazardous bushfire season I would encourage the community to visit the ESA website and download the bushfire survival plan. This will take you through the four simple steps to be ready for a bushfire. They are: discuss what to do if a bushfire threatens your home; prepare your home and get ready for the bushfire season; know the bushfire level alerts; and keep all the bushfire information, numbers, websites and smartphone apps at hand.

MS CHEYNE: Minister, what contribution do our emergency services personnel and volunteers make in preparing and keeping our city safe from bushfires?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Ms Cheyne for her interest in our volunteers. Our city is kept safe because of the dedication and hard work of our front-line personnel, both paid staff and volunteers. This comprises the ESA team made up of about 450 ACT Rural Fire Service members, over 300 ACT Fire & Rescue firefighters, 13 ACT Fire & Rescue staff, and nearly 200 firefighters in the parks and conservation service.

In support of our crews, we have fire weather analysts, media liaison officers, mapping specialists, communications specialists and a wide logistical and support capability, which all help to support our emergency women and men in the field to protect our community. As we contemplate our summer break, these individuals will continue working hard to make our city safer and, of course, respond to any emergencies that may arise.

I am proud of the support and services that this government has delivered to help our emergency services personnel. In terms of equipment, the ACT has access to heavy and medium tankers, light units, a bulk water carrier, urban pumpers, helicopters, and heavy plant and support vehicles. The ESA and PCS also have contracts in place for additional resources.

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