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ENVIRONMENT—BUSHFIRES—NATIONAL DISASTER RESPONSE PLAN

Senator Milne, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 643—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.

Statement by leave: The Special Minister of State (Senator Ludwig), by leave, made a statement relating to the motion.

Question put.

The Senate divided—

AYES, 6

Senators—

Brown, Bob

Hanson-Young

Ludlam

Milne

Siewert (Teller)

Xenophon


NOES, 39

Senators—

Adams

Back

Barnett

Bilyk

Bishop

Boswell

Boyce

Brown, Carol

Bushby

Cameron

Cash

Colbeck

Cormann

Farrell

Feeney

Ferguson

Fielding

Fierravanti-Wells

Forshaw

Furner

Hurley

Hutchins

Kroger

Ludwig

Lundy

Marshall

McEwen

McLucas

Moore

Nash

O'Brien

Parry (Teller)

Polley

Pratt

Sterle

Troeth

Trood

Williams

Wortley

Question negatived.