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Monday, 21 October 2002
Page: 5471


Senator MOORE (2:02 PM) —My question is to Minister Vanstone, representing the Minister for Health and Ageing. Is the minister able to advise the Senate of the detail of the agreement put in place by Commonwealth, state and territory health ministers in July this year to produce a coordinated national response to major incidents involving burns? In light of the Bali terrorist attack and the now ever present danger of bushfires, can the minister indicate whether the implementation of a national burns response plan will be made a necessary priority?


Senator VANSTONE (Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women) —I thank the senator for the question. Senator, I am generally aware of the issue that you raise and I am advised that that matter is progressing but I do not have a specific brief to give you specific details. As with all things done in the federation between the Commonwealth and the states, this is not as easy as we would like. We always look back when something has happened and wish it had not happened, in any event, and certainly wish some things could be done sooner, but I can assure you that the Commonwealth is working on this as steadfastly as it ought to be and I assume the states and territories are as well.


Senator MOORE —Mr President, I ask a supplementary question, particularly on the issue of Bali. Can the minister confirm that the International Commission on Missing Persons has offered its assistance in the process of identifying victims of the Bali terrorist attack? Has the government taken up this offer of assistance, if made?


Senator VANSTONE (Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women) —I did not notice that that was particularly supplementary to the question. No, I cannot confirm that. I will get some advice and get back to you.