Page 113 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 12 February 2020

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Wednesday, 12 February 2020

MADAM SPEAKER (Ms J Burch) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Bushfires—recovery support

MRS JONES (Murrumbidgee) (10.01): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes:

(a) the devastation across Australia caused by the bushfires, including the loss of 33 lives, the destruction of over 3000 homes, the incredible loss of wildlife and the devastating impact on local communities and economies across Australia;

(b) the impact of the recent fires in the ACT, including the Beard and Orroral Valley fires which have collectively burnt tens of thousands of hectares;

(c) the contribution and dedication of volunteer and career fire-fighters, emergency services personnel, and Australian Defence Force personnel and reservists; and

(d) the generosity of individuals, families, neighbours and organisations such as schools, religious groups, local clubs and businesses who have donated their time, energy and resources to assist those in need;

(2) express gratitude to the ACT Emergency Services Agency, ACT Rural Fire Service, ACT State Emergency Service, ACT Fire and Rescue, ACT Ambulance Service, ACT Policing, ACT Parks and Conservation and all other workers and volunteers who have assisted in protecting and supporting the ACT during the ongoing bushfire season; and

(3) calls on the ACT Government to:

(a) commit itself to learn any lessons from this fire season; and

(b) fully support the affected areas of the ACT to recover and rebuild.

As we discussed yesterday, this summer we have faced a terrible bushfire season on a national scale. The fires have ripped through our highest mountains, beautiful beaches, national parks, forests, farms, suburbs and villages. We have seen day turn into night and cities choking on smoke. Early in this bushfire season hundreds of dedicated ACT volunteer firefighters helped our neighbours in New South Wales and Victoria fight their fires, with the smoke from some of these fires blanketing the ACT with a thick, hazardous haze for weeks.

More recently, we have experienced our own fires much closer to home—the Beard and Orroral Valley fires. Collectively they have burnt through tens of thousands of hectares of land, with the Orroral Valley fire destroying up to 80 per cent of Namadgi National Park. Thankfully, the contributions and dedication of the hundreds of career

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