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Monday, 2 June 2003
Page: 15731

Ms Vamvakinou asked the Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government, upon notice, on 24 March 2003:

What was the role of the Government in funding and supporting the fire fighting brigade service at the Mt Stromlo observatory that ceased operating in 1996.

Mr Tuckey (Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government has advised that the fire fighting brigade at Mt Stromlo observatory was a volunteer unit operated by the Australian National University (ANU) until it was disbanded in 1996. The ANU owned the fire fighting appliances and provided staff and residents as volunteer fire fighters for those appliances stationed at Mt Stromlo.

The Territories portfolio (then the Department of the Arts, Sport, the Environment, Tourism and Territories) provided funds to the ACT for fire services until 1992, at which time responsibility for this payment was transferred to the Department of Finance. This payment for fire services was in consideration of the significant Federal Government presence in the Territory and the burden this placed on ACT fire services. I am advised that, as a volunteer brigade, the Mt Stromlo observatory fire fighting brigade did not receive any of the funds from these Commonwealth payments.