Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (15:21): I rise today to speak about the Country Fire Service. I am a very proud volunteer of the Country Fire Service, along with 13,000 others. There are problems that have arisen, and a lot of people have not come forward because they have been intimidated and they have been gagged, and it is a real concern for the fire season coming up. We are being told that it is going to be one of the worst fire seasons we have seen, with the growth of feed and pastures and the amount of crop out there this year.

We are getting mixed messages to both paid staff and volunteers. As we have seen—and some of these people have talked to me—paid staff and volunteers have been suspended from service either for allegations or, as has been indicated by the minister today, criminal charges. What is the path for these people who have been suspended and who have been found to be cleared? It is interesting that, in the space of a very few days, we have the minister indicating that there is nothing to see here with this issue around suspension and gagging orders, and yet, in the last couple of days, he has come out and said, 'I launched an inquiry six weeks ago to tidy this up.' Well, it cannot be both. It cannot be both.

Even though the minister realised that these questions were most likely coming, he still cannot tell me how many hundreds of people have been suspended and how many have been gagged. He laughs it off. As with his answer earlier, he just played politics and could not tell us what he was going to do for the good people of the CFS with their facilities across the state. He could not tell us.

The Hon. J.K. Szakacs interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

Mr PEDERICK: That is why—

The Hon. J.K. Szakacs interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

Mr PEDERICK: I can still hear noises on the other side, but that is why we, the Liberal Party, have put on the Notice Paper in the upper house a select committee that will be moved by the Hon. Ben Hood. I will read that as follows:

The Hon. B.R. Hood to move—

1. That a select committee of the Legislative Council be established to inquire into the Country Fire Service (CFS), with a particular reference to:

(a) assessing support mechanisms available to volunteer firefighters throughout the state;

(b) examining the processes, procedures, criteria and timeliness of investigations into volunteer conduct;

(c) examining the adequacy and state of facilities at CFS stations across regional South Australia, with an emphasis on change rooms, bathrooms and other essential amenities;

(d) determining the transparency and effectiveness—

The SPEAKER: Member for Hammond, there is some difficulty here. I am just taking some advice regarding the debates of the other chamber under 120. We will just pause for a moment and I will seek that advice from the Deputy Clerk.

Mr PEDERICK: It has only been tabled on the Notice Paper.

The SPEAKER: For the avoidance of doubt, is there some other way of dealing with this?

The Hon. L.W.K. Bignell: Sit down!

The SPEAKER: Order!

Mr PEDERICK: No, I will not sit down.

The SPEAKER: Order! Do not respond to interjections is the easiest way not to breach the standing orders in respect of these matters.

Mr PEDERICK: I will keep on it.

The SPEAKER: Member for Hammond, you will be seated for a moment and I will also extend to you any additional time as may be necessary, but we will first seek advice. The advice I have from the table is that a general reflection will be permitted in these circumstances.

Mr PEDERICK: Apart from that, there will be matters raised around transparency and effectiveness of capital programs, including facilities and appliance replacement programs. There will also be discussions around communication channels and procedures and especially the ability of volunteers to express their concerns and the responsiveness to those concerns.

Also, there will be discussions about the role and responsibility of the minister in addressing and supporting the concerns of the CFS volunteers and I am certainly keen to hear from volunteers and paid staff about the adequacy of investments across the board and support mechanisms right through and any other matters that will be linked to the CFS, including the governance and support structures.

It is interesting how touchy a subject it is when this government is not looking after this great organisation that the CFS is. It is a great organisation. People deserve procedural fairness instead of being left out in the wilderness and struck down in their prime at their jobs or as volunteers and all we get is this abuse from the minister from the other side.

The Hon. J.K. SZAKACS: Point of order.

The SPEAKER: The minister on a point of order. I anticipate 127.

The Hon. J.K. SZAKACS: I ask the member to apologise and withdraw that comment.

The SPEAKER: Very well. Member for Hammond, I will give you the opportunity.

Mr PEDERICK: I apologise and withdraw, sir.

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