ESA powers to deal with emergencies strengthened

Canfan 28 October 2014

New laws approved by the ACT Legislative Assembly today will help improve public safety in the territory, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Simon Corbell, said.

“The Emergencies Amendment Bill 2014 was developed to strengthen the powers of our emergency service personnel to appropriately manage emergency response and recovery operations and improving Canberra’s bushfire prevention activities,” Mr Corbell said.

“The new laws provide better clarity and outline the government’s expectations in relation to our bushfire prevention measures and emergency management arrangements.

“Under the amendments passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly today there are new powers for chief officers and emergency controllers to close premises and obtain information during an emergency.”

The ESA Commissioner’s role in emergencies has also been clarified by outlining the government’s expectation that he will play a role in effectively coordinating our emergency response and recovery operations. The new powers also help the ACT to better manage potential shortages of essential services like electricity, gas, water or fuel.

A new $300 on the spot fine will now apply for irresponsibly discarding a lit cigarette.

“Those that discard lit cigarettes, particularly out of their car windows, need to think about the risk this poses to our environment and public safety. The new $300 penalty sends a very clear message to ‘think before you toss’,” Mr Corbell said.

“The amendments to the Emergencies Act 2004 also complement the government’s new five year ACT Strategic Bushfire Management Plan, which I tabled in the Legislative Assembly last month with respect to resolving potential inconsistencies between the plan and plans of management for public land.

“The amendments promote a shared understanding and shared responsibility approach to emergency management, which strengthens our ability to be more resilient in meeting the challenges we face as a community from disasters and emergencies.”

(Simon Corbell Media Release)

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