Australia — The ACT opposition has accused the Stanhope government of failing to implement key recommendations from the coronial inquiry into the 2003 bushfires.
Shadow emergency services minister Steve Pratt said minister Simon Corbell is not taking the issue seriously enough.
“In a response to a letter from the opposition querying the progress of 62 recommendations coming out of Coroner Doogan’s report, the minister replied, cryptically, that he is awaiting a ‘status’ report following the release of the government’s response almost 12 months ago,” Mr Pratt said.
“Why is the minister not able to tell us how many of the key recommendations have been implemented, nor when they will be implemented, and if they won’t be implemented, why not?”
“Key recommendations coming out of these reports, such as the release of a bushfire management plan (known as the SBMP), are paramount to ensuring there is no repeat of the disastrous events of January 2003.”
But Mr Corbell has rejected any claims that the territory is falling short in its ability to deal with emergencies.
He says the ACT has spent a lot of money on its bushfire preparedness.
“Since 2003 the government has invested a significant amount of taxpayers money into ensuring our emergency services have the resources to protect the community, in fact more than an additional $20 million per year than the 2003 level,” he said.
In addition there has been significant capital funding for a range of areas, including a new high-tech radio communications system, new firefighting vehicles for the ACT Fire Brigade and ACT Rural Fire Service, (and) additional recruitment of staff and volunteers.”