25 February 2015
Back to the Future Part II on Burns under Labor
Member or Evelyn Christine Fyffe has again questioned the Andrews Government’s commitment to the Black Saturday Bushfires Royal Commission’s recommendations following an advertisement for a review of fuel reduction targets.
Earlier this month Mrs Fyffe hit out at Andrews Government Environment, Climate Change and Water Minister Lisa Neville for failing to recommit Labor to the accepted fuel reduction target.
The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission recommended the state government adopt a 5 per cent fuel reduction burn target, a view that was previously stated by the Environment and Natural Resources Committee of which Mrs Fyffe was a member.
The recommendations were readily accepted by the Coalition which delivered Victoria’s largest ever planned burning program when in government.
“My fear is that the Andrews Government is going to roll back the progress made with land management taking us back to the dangerous conditions that precipitated Black Saturday.
“I think the Andrews Government has made a serious miscalculation. It is easy to be lulled into a false sense of security when the conditions of this summer overall have been comparatively mild.
“It doesn’t take much for fuel loads to build, and if predictions of the eventual return of El Nino are correct, then we are likely to see hotter and drier conditions return – similar to those that led up to Black Saturday.
“The Andrews Government is rolling the dice with the safety of our communities. It is very worrying.
Mrs Fyffe said that it was obvious that the Andrews Government was up to something when the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water refused in Parliament to state what Labor’s fuel reduction target would be.
“It is clear that the Andrews Government has been plotting to dismantle the good work the former Coalition Government did to prepare our state for bushfires.
When asked by Deputy Leader of the Opposition Peter Walsh, if the Andrews Government has a planned burning target, Ms Neville’s feeble response was “normally those figures are articulated through budget papers.” (Hansard, 10 February 2015).
“Planned burns reduce fuel loads, protect park and forest facilities, preserve residential properties and conserve natural systems and processes. Under Labor this work was not done which left our state vulnerable to a bushfire the size of Black Saturday.
“Labor has learned nothing”, said Mrs Fyffe.
Ruth Barendse – 9735 3208