Page 436 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 18 February 2020

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volunteering. I thank all those who volunteer in whatever capacity in our community. We are much the better for it.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Advanced Technology and Space Industries, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (3.44): I commend this matter of public importance relating to the recognition and valuing of volunteers across the ACT. As Minister for Police and Emergency Services, volunteers are an integral part of my portfolio and are highly regarded within the emergency response and emergency management areas.

I reiterate my sincere thanks to volunteers assisting the community to remain safe. Volunteers from the ACT Rural Fire Service, the ACT State Emergency Service, community fire units and the ACT mapping and planning support have worked tirelessly on the ground and in the incident management team to keep the territory safe. Our volunteers not only have responded to storms and bushfires locally but also have been providing much-needed support to their New South Wales and Queensland counterparts since September.

Emergency services are in a unique position as part of a government that relies heavily on the contributions of volunteers to maintain its operational response. The ACT community are supported by over 1,700 emergency service volunteers who are not just busy during extreme weather events but out in the community educating about preparedness and contributing in any way possible.

We saw the true nature of their volunteering when they turned out in large numbers for the convoy for cancer on 9 February 2020 straight off the back of large commitments fighting the Orroral Valley fire. We see it week in and week out at school fetes, community events and the ESA open day. Not only are they making homes safe after a severe storm and holding a hose on a fire but they are alongside community members whenever the need arises. Our volunteers sign up because they want to protect their communities and help their neighbours. They show a remarkable level of bravery and professionalism, and I thank them for their selfless work.

I again acknowledge the families, friends, and employers of our emergency service volunteers and the personnel who have assisted the ESA. Without your support to our volunteers across the ACT Rural Fire Service, ACTSES, the community fire units, ACT mapping and planning support, it would not have been possible to respond to these incidents in the way that we have. Through your support to those volunteering in our services, you have helped to keep the community safe.

The length of this season has been felt by many of our volunteers and their families who have given their time responding to the bushfire here in the ACT, engaging with the community and deploying interstate and internationally as well. I commend all emergency service volunteers who continue to answer the call and protect our community.

I also take this opportunity to thank the over 800 ParkCare volunteers in the ACT. Our ParkCare volunteers actively contribute to protecting, enhancing and interpreting

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