August 12, 1976 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY p611 Country Fires Bill 1976 Second Reading The Hon. J. D. CORCORAN (Minister of Works) obtained leave and introduced a Bill for an Act to provide for the prevention and suppression of bush fires and other fires; to repeal the Bush Fires Act, 1960-1972; and for all other purposes. Read a first time. The Hon. J. D. CORCORAN: I move: That this Bill be now read a second time. I seek leave to have the second reading explanation inserted in Hansard without my reading it. Leave granted. Explanation of Bill It implements the recommendations made by a working party appointed in 1971 by a former Minister of Agriculture (Hon. T. M. Casey, M.L.C.) to inquire into and report upon all aspects of a proposed reorganisation of country fire services in the State. These recommendations are to be found in Parliamentary Paper 106/72. The Bill preserves many principles of the existing Act that have been proved valid by long experience. However, it also introduces a good deal that is new. The provisions for administration are more comprehensive and complete than in the old Act and there has been a good deal of rationalisation and simplification of substantive provisions previously contained in the old Act. The principle of a separate Act for bush fire, control, and country volunteer fire services, is in keeping with the policy in every other State, each of which has its respective “Country”, “Rural” or “Bush” fires Act. The title “Country Fires Act” was adopted as the most appropriate name because, although much of the Bill is applicable throughout the State, its major provisions relate to the establishment and maintenance of country fire services and the fighting of fires outside fire brigade districts. The change in title from “S.A. Emergency Fire Services” to “S.A. Country Fire Services” is designed to avoid confusion with other “emergency” bodies and to obviate inappropriate calls upon C.F.S. services. The Bill provides for a board of 10 members, a Director of Country Fire Services, and such other officers as may be necessary to enable the functions presently performed by E.F.S. headquarters and the various bush fire committees of the S.A. Police Department and the Agriculture and Fisheries Department to be consolidated under the management of the one statutory body. Statutory fire control regions and regional and district committees are proposed by the Bill. A statutory fund is to be administered by the board. This fund will be applied both in defraying general administrative expenses and in subsidising the purchase of equipment by C.F.S. organisations. Contributions to the fund are to be made by Government, insurers, councils and C.F.S, organisations. An innovation of special interest is a provision for the
p612 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY August 12, 1976 formation of a joint “Fire-fighting Advisory Committee” to advise the Minister, the Fire Brigades Board and the Country Fire Services Board on any matter affecting the co-ordination or rationalisation of fire- fighting services in the State.
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