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7.30 W.A. -

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(generated from captions) This Program is Captioned Live. Tonight - the bushfire alert

system. What's going wrong? I received it late. Where were

you? I was in town.

had been burnt down for three

houshs hours. A apologises for his son's houshs hours. A father

crime. No-one also seems to be

apologise ing to them. I know

what was happening to them what was happening to them at

the hostel and I thought it was

time they got an apology from

the family. Freo sets

is the biggest sporting event

by a number of measures the State has ever seen.

Good evening. Welcome to 7:30

WA. I'm Andrew O'Connor. As we

go to air tonight,

are struggling to protect lives

and homes around Augusta from a

fire started by a controlled

burn. That battle is being

played out against the continuing fallout from the

devastating Margaret River

bushfire where 40 homes and chalets were Residents there claimed the

fire warning information they

both outdated and inaccurate. received from authorities was

The State Alert system didn't

work, they say, and hasn't worked time and time worked time and time again. So,

what's the solution?

This is beautiful WA bush. As you can see you can see thousands of the grass trees. It was always a

pleasure to come home to. Now

we are left with this. It is

around you. Carnage. Welcome devastating, mate. Have a look

to Orchid Ramble. This is

what's left of Jeff family home. It is gutted

really. Have to bring my 4 and

6-year-old boys home to how you

will live around here. De

detruckion and devastation made

worse for Jeff Holzer because

he says the alert failed received the alert 5:30. Where he says the alert failed him. I

were you? I was in town. The house had

house had been burned down for

three hours. He is talking about FESA's State Alert to send text messages and phone calls to warn of calls to warn of impending

emergency. It is not a means

to an end. It is not the whole

- the answer to everything. In

this situation here, person

living in an area just north of the fire which had been

affected by fire already, it is quite possible they may have

lost some property and, at this

point in time when the alert is going to be

is already gone to an

evacuation centre. When we draw

that polygon, shade in it and

send an alert to all that

that person has already moved

to a relocation centre will get

an SMS as well. It would seem

to that person that the alert

has come late. But for Jeff

Holzer and other Margaret River

residents, it proved difficult

to know at what point the

Department of Environment and

became out of control. Because Conservation's controlled burn

they had been burning for the

last week, everyone took it for

granted that they knew what they were doing and they'd have a backup plan or the services

to be able to battle something

that got out of control. It that got out of control. It is

not the first time FESA's State

Alert system has come under

fire. On the last two occasions

when it was deployed, it has

failed to deliver timely advice

to residents. Can I just say in relation was made aware that there were some residents in the

south-west that received the

through their particular area. message after the fire had gone

I was told that's a very, very

of a blip there. The Keelty small part and there was a bit

Report which investigated Report which investigated the devastating bushfires in 2

Perth Hills earlier this year Perth Hills earlier this

well in what it was supposed State Alert system had worked found it was wrong to think the

achieve. Despite FESA saying

relied upon, the report the system is not to be solely

revealed more than half the State Alert was the first residents in Roleystone

official source of

communication about the fire,

but for many it came too late

warning for us at all. No. In or not at all. No. There was no

the Lake Clifton fires in

January, a survey by the

Bushfire Cooperative Research

Centre found none of the

residents said

State Alert message. In Toodyay

in 2009, residents again said

the evacuation messages came

hours after fleeing hours after fleeing their

homes. Suppose they tried to do

the right thing but it was too late. It takes at least 15

minutes to send out an alert

message but some of the issues

are beyond FESA's control.

While the system can send out a thousand messages a minute, mobile phone reception in country areas can be patchy. We are very, very careful we don't are

overuse State Alert because we

don't want people having

telephone calls all the time

important and then to not feel it is

State Alert call. By the time

the owner of the Prevelly caravan park and general store

got the call, the fire had

already gone through. It was

pretty intimidating when it

came over the hill. It had so

much speed and the wind was so

strong. Yeah, it was kind of

it was over the hill and all upon us in about

around us. During an around us. During an emergency, the phone towers can become

congested with vast amounts of traffic but Home says he was traffic but in Prevelly Greg

Home says he was receiving

plenty of messages, just not

the State Alert. It wasn't the

only form of alert that came

too late. The information that

was going to ABC radio that

everyone was listening to

locally was late and outdated.

It was like the ABC was repeating repeating messages four hours over and over again. Locals

like Greg Home are trying to

get back to normal and attract

tourists back to the south-west. The been laid out and the beers are


Sturm sturm sturm produced

that report. Wayne Gregson took

Emergency Services Authority over as the CEO of the Fire and

with a brief to implement

wide-ranging reforms, including

improving the communication of emergency information to the

earlier about the problems at

Margaret River and the

difficulties of creating a flow

of accurate warnings that keeps of accurate warnings that

pace with the raging bushfire. Wayne Gregson, thanks

for joining 7:30 WA. The Keelty

Report highlighted problems

with the timely communication

of accurate information to

people about approaching fires.

We seem to have had the same problem at Margaret River.

What's gone wrong? I What's gone wrong? I think

that part of the problem is

that there is a heightened

public expectation of what State Alert's designed to

do. It is one way - I underscore one way - of

communicating to the community

that's likely to be in that's likely to be in risk or potential risk that there is an

imminent advice or imminent

danger. I have heard problems

"I wasn't communicated early enough" and other people say

"You have communicated to "You have communicated to me

this risk when I'm not in the path of the flames" but of course we have to make

decisions and, from that point

in time, we have guesstimates

as to what area is likely to be affected. Fires can be

unpredictable based on a whole

range of factors, so on a best endeavours basis, we then articulate through the State

Alert where we think there Alert where we think there is likely to be danger. That

sometimes does take a sometimes does take a little

bit of time too, so what you

will find is if the fire is

moving rapidly, we will try moving rapidly, we will try and warn in advance of the fire. That's not always

possible. What is it about the

practical reality on the ground that makes it difficult and sometimes impossible to give the timely and accurate is a number of variables with fire movement as I understand

it. I have said publicly I am not a fireman, nor do I have a great ex per tease in firefightering, but the

weather, the type of fuel load,

the wind changes and the type of fuel. There is a raft of fuel. There is a raft of

issues that come foo play and

often those things are unpredictable. It is a hard

thing to manage, we have the ABC radio telling listen to the alerts, FESA

reinforcing the fact this information will be pumped out

there. What can you say

people that is going to give

them an accurate and them an accurate and realistic

picture about what they can expect? We try and give people

as much information as

possible. As soon as an

incident crank up, we endeavour

to get the information out

there in a range of ways. The

public need to understand it is

a best endeavours basis to get the message whether it be through State

Alert, ABC messages, other

media, whether it be through even door knocking even door knocking from

decisions of patrolmen et

cetera. There is a raft of get

it out. The webpage we it out. The webpage we con stntly update and get it as

accurate as possible. It is the mixed signals. Somebody sitting

in their house listening to an

alert that may be out of date or information out of date and seeing perhaps

are danger signs out their

window with a fire approaching. How are ordinary people How are ordinary people to resolve that dilemma? resolve that dilemma? If in

doubt, take appropriate action. We

We are urging people to have a

fire plan, have an

understanding of what they would do if there is a likelihood their home or work

place will be affected by fire,

and if they are in any doubt at all, take the conserve itive

measured approach and put the

fire plan into effect. Do you think the public

worst of days, like a Black

Saturday like we saw in

Victoria, no amount of

information, that no effort on the part of your people is going to be able to

with that fire, probably on the

ground, let alone communicating

that information to people who

might be in the path of it? If

we have as a community a very

serious attack from fire, if

mother nature turns its worst

against us, there is nothing that firefighters can do. The

DEC is under a lot of DEC is under a lot of pressure.

They have copped a lot of flak in Margaret River fires. Have you been given a full account of

what led to the outbreak? Not

at this stage. I know the

Premier has announced there

will be an investigation into that and I would imagine, although I have not seen the terms of reference, that that

will focus predominantly upon

the ignition source of the fire and the wisdom or otherwise and the wisdom or otherwise of that decision. I will await

that and I am almost certain we

will do our own internal review and we will have the

opportunity to contribute to that have thought as the fire have thought as the fire chief you would have been given an

immediate appreciation of the

situation so you could see whether there was anything that

needed to be fixed straightaway. My focus, straightaway. My focus, the focus has been on focus has been on fighting

fires. We seem to have been in

that mode since that time.

There has been unrelenting

number of issue s we have had to deal with since that time. Margaret River Margaret River is still very much under observation. There

are other fires raging as we

speak. So I am quite prepared

to leave that investigation to

look much more deeply and much more thoughtfully at more thoughtfully at those

issues. Wouldn't you want o to

know if there was a fundamental

mistake like not properly reading the weather forecast,

assessing the risk. Wouldn't

you like to know that now while

the DEC is still managing 50 or

so prescribed burns across the south-west? We do work south-west? We do work with

DEC. We get advice of that. My

FESA personnel are looking much

more closely at what's

currently occurring, there is no no doubt about that. I will

leave the in depth scrutiny of those decisions those decisions to the investigation. Can I ask you about the reform program you have been have been brought in to implement. We had implement. We had the parliamentary committee saying

a week ago only nine of the 55 recommendations had recommendations had been put

into effect by the start of

summer. It sort of paints a

picture not much or not enough

has been done quickly enough.

Can you tell me where you are

at with this? I don't think that's

that's fair, to be frank. may well be only nine of the 55 recommendations have been

completed but that doesn't mean

that there hasn't been significant endeavours on the

rest of the recommendations. Some of those

as Keelty said are going to

take time. Some are cultural reforms,

reforms, some are system

changes. We need to consult

widely with volunteer organisations and with other stakeholders, with the career

fire officers and other government and government and non-government agencies to make sure the changes we are embedding are appropriate, accurate and

full-on. I guess it is probably

too much to ask we will have a

fire-free Christmas but I am sure all Western Australians will be pushing you and will be pushing you and all

your people well in what is shaping up to be a

summer. Than Thanks for your

time. Thank you. For the

time, the father of a serious sex offender has spoken out personally apologising for his

son's crimes. Dennis McKenna is

currently serving more than six years in

years in jail for abusing boys

at the St Andrew's hostel at the St Andrew's hostel in

the 70s and 80s. His father

spoke with Jake Sturmer. Doug McKenna, thanks for your time. That's okay. In 1991, time. That's okay. In 1991, you described your son Dennis as someone that did everything he could for everybody. He

did. You were adamant he was

not guilty. What changed? not guilty. What changed? When he pleaded guilty and admitted to me then he had done

it. But up till then, no - it

came as a shock, I can tell

you, because he did, he helped everybody. Why are you apologising to the victims? No-one else seems to be

apologising to them and I know

now what was actually happening

to them at the hostel. to them at the hostel. I

thought it was time they got an apology from our family. How

can you apologise for something

your son did? Well, just to more or less let them know more or less let them know how

the rest of our family feel

about it. We know that about it. We know that Dennis was definitely in the wrong.

These boys were okay and they

needed an apology. I just hope

they get plenty of compensation

to pay for what they went through. When you made that

initial phone call to Steve

Parkin, what did you tell him?

I just - the first was "Steve, this is Doug McKenna, don't hang up". He

said "No, I won't hang up on

you. What do you want?". I said

"On behalf of the rest of the sons, I want to apologise for

what Dennis did". He said

"Thank you very much, you are

the only person that has

apologised to us. He said I

will let the others know". Have

you spoken to Dennis since he was convicted?

yesterday. Now that you have spoken to Steve Parkin and spoken to Steve Parkin and know what you

on, do you still want to visit

him? Not really but he is

still my son. I will give him a little bit of moral support. little bit of moral support. I

do feel a bit embarrassed when I'm there. Do you feel embarrassed ... But he is still

family. Even though I know what

he did was monstrous. I didn't know exactly whafgs going - what was going on till Steve

Parkin told me and I got a Parkin told me and I got a bit

of a shock, I can tell

you. What did Steve Parkin say

to you? I don't want to say it

on air. I can't talk about that

sort of thing on air. It was

depraved sex, put it that

way. Do you ever talk to Dennis

about what happened? No, no,

no. All that he said to me was that he sexually abused them. The boys. But he also claims -

in one of the papers it the police were investigating

another seven cases. He

maintains that he didn't touch anymore. anymore. Whether that's true or

not, I don't know, and he said

if they do charge him with any

of those, he is going of those, he is going to plead not guilty. Do you have not guilty. Do you have any inkling as to why this has happened? No, I can't make it out. That's

what I can't make out with

Dennis, why did he keep going?

Do you think your apology will help the vip victims? help the vip victims? Well,

I'm hoping it will help them. That's one of the reasons That's one of the reasons I apologised. I didn't know exactly what had been

happening, you know, until

Steve filled me in on it all

and - I'm hoping that my

apology might give them a of a lift. I hope it of a lift. I hope it does, anyway. Doug McKenna, thanks for your time. The Prime Minister says she

wants a fair dinkum Labor Party

con frens and looks like she

will get one. The vote on the

same-sex marriage is due tomorrow and Sunday the fight

will shift to selling will shift to selling uranium

to India. But as Chris Uhlmann

reports, on day one, the floor belonged to the Prime Minister. Labour is a broad church. If

you wanted a definition

anti-Labor, the idea of selling

uranium to India is about as

close as it gets. My people in

the lower gulf are in support

of uranium. With many of uranium. With many knocking

at the door. 80 per cent of the

Australian public is against

the cruelty of live animal ex for the conference. In 2009,

Kevin Rudd ensured the Party 's

usually feisty policy jamboree

was controversy free. This time, Julia Gillard says she

wants real debate. She will get

it. Marriage is between a man

and a woman. We should have

strong support for b same-sex

couples. In these coming days,

I want us to have a fair dinkum Labor Party conference. This

has been a hard Prime Minister and her speech

acknowledged that. It says acknowledged that. It says it brought rewards and tough

choices had been made on things

like the mining tax. It like the mining tax. It wasn't

just for the Party faithful

here, it was aimed at a broader audience. The Prime Minister

highlighted the Government's achievement but her words

didn't scale retorical heights

as she sought to make Australia and Labor the Labor way of job, growth, fairness. The way of education,

hard work and respect. The

of the future. We meet as a party which knows the Labor way is the Australian way. Some is the Australian way. Some of the constructions were a touch

bewildering. This is the bewildering. This is the Labor way. This is the Australian

way. We follow it simply

because we are us. In a sign of

the Party's priorities, the first debate economic path. The Left

provided the passion.. I don't agree with you on some agree with you on some issues,

comrade. I don't think we

should ever have a surplus

fettish, I am not saying Wayne,

but we should never have a

fetish for a surplus. But the

right had the numbers, cutting

down bids to place less wait on

returning - weight on returning

the budget to surplus and expanding the mining tax. It is not is not an accident of fate or geography that Australia has geography that Australia has a

AAA credit rating. It is

because we have good economic

management. There are management. There are 400 conference delegates and the

Right nominal y controls Right nominal y controls 220.

On some issues the Right On some issues the Right are

split, no more so than same-sex marriage. The face to push that's

that's right is the that's right is the Chief Minister of the ACT. That Labor

would amend the marj Marriage

Act to allow a union between

two people regards of their success. Change looks

inevitable despite resistance

from the Parliament so the

Right is rallying around a

conscience vote. It is appropriate the Labor Party recognises this is a question which has some unique characteristics, including appropriate in those

circumstances for us to move to

a conscience vote. That vote

will be tomorrow's focus and Sunday's main bout will be Sunday's main bout will be the Prime Minister's Prime Minister's push to sell

uranium to India, a country

that won't sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Labor

says yes to Australia's future.

Thank you very much Labor meets

at a difficult time. It is being snuffed out being snuffed out in State election. It needs to

regenerate and redefine itself.

Some are looking to this conference for proof of life. Just five weeks after CHOGM, there is there is another international

event on our shores but this

time it is Fremantle's turn to play host. play host. The World Sailing Championships began today with

competitors from around the

world battling it out for a

place at the London Olympics.

The event has evoke ed memories off Fremantle, the America's

Cup defence 25 years ago.

Claire Nichols reports. Hoist

the jib. Go up his bum and duck through. In a dark theatre in Fremantle, Australia's

America's Cup glory is being

relived. Red boat is coming up underneath Australia Australia raced to

victory in Newport, ending a winning streak winning streak and giving

Australia the right to host it four years later. Fremantle

geared up for the biggest

sporting event in its history. Now it is doing it all again.

This is a seriously large

event. We have 78 countries here, we have got nearly 1200

athletes. I honestly think it

is the biggest sporting event

by a number of measures that

the State has ever seen. What

you are seeing with ISAF is

real focus on Fremantle from

around the world again. We vrnt

had that for 25 years.

The America's Cup defence of

1986 and '87 put Fremantle on the world stage. dollars were spent beautifying a

a town that, until then, was

home to mieg migrants and home to mieg migrants and the working working class. Yachting is not something Fremantle people something Fremantle people have associated themselves with on

the whole, so there is a new

element coming into the city

which is alien to them. It was

probably the first of the big

leap in terms of leap in terms of Fremantle's gentrification. Fremantle is

not just a working port and town but a place wanted to come and those kinds

of things. Neville Thorpe

witnessed Fremantle's evolution

first hand. Today he drives a tram. But 25 years ago, he was

a police officer working in a special division dedicated to the America's Cup. Sprucing up,

which was rather obvious, which was rather obvious, lot

of the shops did a bit of sprucing up inside. There was sprucing up inside. There was a lot of improvements in Fremantle. By the time the race started, Fremantle had been

transformed from a dangerous back water to a party paradise. It was just - I

suppose you could use the word electric. It was clicking all if time. There was always

something happening in

Fremantle over the America's

Cup. Sure, it was a party. You

asked people did they have a

great time. They said yeah. Did

you watch the racing? No, that was on

was on out there but

going off, you Here comes 'Stars and

Stripes' ... In the end the American 'Stars and Stripes'

beat 'Kookaburra' to the finish

with Australia bidding farewell

to the Cup it held for just

four years. The legacy for

Fremantle, horf, was far more enduring. The America's Cup created

created the investment both public and private, some $450

million poured in this town. Everything

Everything from infrastructure, boring things like sewage and electricity and electricity and so forth, to

the Canon law can buying an old

building and completely

restoring it. The town was

really changed forever. The

America's Cup started a party

and the party really has never

stopped. And now the boats are back in the water. For more than 2 weeks the sailors will sailors will be out on these

waters attempting to win a

place at the 2012 games. But for Fremantle, it is for Fremantle, it is what happens off the boat happens off the boat that

really matters, with this event

expected to raise about $41

million for the local economy.

Back in July, 7:30 WA brought

you a story about Fremantle's

dwindling fortune s, with

little investment in the town

since the America's Cup, people

shop owners were struggling. It is hoped this event could is hoped this event could start to turn the tide bringing people back and kick people back and kick starting

the city's rejuf nation. You

have done a bit of a scrub and paint of the whole city,

getting it ready. It has been

good to have the opportunity.

You need an excuse like ISAF You need an excuse like ISAF to go "We have to look great". The

Council has spent more than $2

million at Bathers Beach getting the influx of visitors. Around

town, there have been a number of smaller improvements too with money spent on new paving,

planting and a paint job. Even

one of Fremantle's most infamous isores, the Woolstore building,

building, is getting a mini makeover. How is the city

looking? Looks colossal. Done

a lot of tidies up and things

like this. There were a couple of of ugly spots in Fremantle but the city has done quite well in tidying those up. They look quite attractive for sure. I

think Fremantle is

best it has for a long time.

As the sailors make the most

of the Fremantle doctor, it

seems the winds of change are blowing through Fremantle again

with the city determined to

make the most of the ride. that 25 years ago. Hard to

believe. That's 7:30 for this

week. Join us next week for our

final program for 2011. Until then,

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