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Monday, 23 November 2009
Page: 8560

Senator MILNE (3:38 PM) —I move:

That the Senate:

(a)   notes that:

(i)   Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation scientists have warned that Australia will experience more high fire danger days as a result of climate change,

(ii)   three Australian states are on high fire danger alert and record high temperatures are being recorded for November 2009 in several Australian cities and towns including Adelaide,

(iii)   a government report in 2005 said that no single state or territory is likely to have the human and material resources required to resolve a catastrophic event, and

(iv)   Emergency Management Australia, the national coordination unit for operational responses to disasters:

(a)   was not called in on Black Saturday in Victoria, and

(b)   did not ask the Department of Defence or Defence Imaging to track the Victorian fires because no request to do so was made from Victoria; and

(b)   calls on the Government immediately to:

(i)   develop and implement a national disaster response plan,

(ii)   appoint the operational fire chiefs from each state and territory to Emergency Management Australia,

(iii)   reverse the onus so that the Commonwealth has the power to oversee a national disaster and to intervene without having to wait for a state to request such assistance, and

(iv)   implement the remaining recommendations of the 2005 Commonwealth report into national disaster readiness.