Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2020 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 27 August 2020) . . Page.. 2215 ..
The government’s second area of amendment will require the Integrity Commission to write some guidelines for MLAs to follow in the event that they face the same situation. The amendment does not go as far as to give guidance to journalists, but I am satisfied that their internal resources will provide all the necessary support and advice that they need.
These two amendments will cover off two shortcomings in the bill and provide some improvement to it immediately. In my in-principle speech I outlined a range of other issues which I hope will be picked up in the 2022 review and which might serve to further improve this important legislation. I commend the amendments to the Assembly.
Amendments agreed to.
Bill, as a whole, as amended, agreed to.
Bill, as amended, agreed to.
Emergencies Amendment Bill 2020
Debate resumed from 20 August 2020, on motion by Mr Gentleman:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (11.44): The Canberra Liberals will be supporting this bill, which makes amendments relating to the appointment of an emergency controller, as well as creating a new position of deputy emergency controller. Mrs Jones has been engaged in this, as the shadow minister, but is not here today, so she has asked me to speak on her behalf to explain the Canberra Liberals’ position.
The need for a deputy emergency controller became apparent during the 2019-2020 bushfire season. As our men and women worked tirelessly on the front line, so did our ESA commissioner and emergency controller, Georgeina Whelan, who, I understand, only had a few nights sleep at home during this entire period. This new deputy role will help the emergency controller manage the oversize burden in future emergencies, and this is an initiative that we welcome. The Canberra Liberals fully support the men and women of our Emergency Services Agency and will do whatever we can to back them as they keep our city safe.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (11.45): The ACT Greens will be supporting this bill. While the amendments primarily relate to the appointment of an emergency controller, this bill is representative of a much broader and deeper body of work that the ACT government and the emergency services agencies will continue beyond today’s debate.
While the word “unprecedented” has almost become a cliché in the course of 2020 and the world has changed so much in recent months, we cannot easily forget the “black summer” and its impacts on the ACT. The scale, breadth and duration of the