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Thursday, 17 August 1972
Page: 445

Mr Enderby asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:

(1)   Is it a fact that until recently members of the Canberra Fire Brigade prepared reports on the standard of fire safety and fire prevention and fire precaution appliances in all new buildings in Canberra.

(2)   Was a decision taken recently whereby Deprtment of the Interior Officers will henceforth make decisions as to whether these standards are met and that they will only consult with Fire Brigade Officers in respect of fire appliances.

(3)   If so,

(a)   how many officers of the Department of the Interior have had any experience or training in fire-fighting, fire precautions or fire prevention;

(b)   is this experience or training considered adequate; and

(c)   why was the change in procedures adopted.

Mr Hunt - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

For many years the Canberra Fire Brigade has reported to the Proper Authority, under the Building Regulations in relation to all new commercial buildings in Canberra. This practice continues. These reports deal with:

(a)   matters which are not covered by the Building Manual Australian Capital Territory; and

(b)   any other matters which may or may not be covered by the Manual but which the Chief Officer considers are of importance and which he wishes to draw to the attention of the Proper Authority.

The Chief Officer of the Canberra Fire Brigade holds an authority from the Minister for the Interior to give directions for the provision or installation of fire appliances in commerecial buildings.

The official responsibility under the legislation for determining whether laid down standards have been met has always rested with the Department's architectural and engineering officers. It was recently found necessary, to clarify the respective roles of Departmental officers and the Chief Officer to make it clear that the responsibility for structural aspects rested with the Proper Authority under the Building Regulations and the responsibility for appliances rested with the Chief Officer, Canberra Fire Brigade. This was done after consultations with the New South Wales Fire Board who provide the personnel for the Canberra Fire Brigade.

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