Fire re­view and in­quiry an­nounced

Daily Mercury - - NEWS -

AS THE rains ex­tin­guish the fi­nal em­bers of the re­gion’s fires, politi­cians are start­ing to dig through the ash to ex­plain what hap­pened.

Yes­ter­day a fed­eral par­lia­men­tary in­quiry was an­nounced to in­ves­ti­gate if State Gov­ern­ment veg­e­ta­tion laws and land man­age­ment poli­cies ex­ac­er­bated the fires that rav­aged Queens­land this week.

This an­nounce­ment pushes away calls by farm­ers for a ju­di­cial in­quiry into the state’s fire haz­ard man­age­ment.

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion comes a day af­ter a re­view was an­nounced by Queens­land Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices Min­is­ter Craig Craw­ford.

Mr Craw­ford an­nounced a state-wide re­view by in­spec­tor-gen­eral emer­gency man­age­ment Michael Sha­p­land would be con­ducted.

Mr Craw­ford said Mr Sha­p­land’s re­view would be an “ex­am­i­na­tion of key pre­pared­ness and re­sponse el­e­ments of the bush­fires and hot weather events across Queens­land”.

He con­firmed that fires around Mackay, in­clud­ing Finch Hat­ton, Eun­gella, Carmila, Bro­ken River and Blooms­bury, would be as­sessed by Mr Sha­p­land’s re­view.

Ru­ral Fire Ser­vice act­ing re­gional man­ager (Cen­tral) An­drew Houley ex­pects the fed­eral and state re­views to have sig­nif­i­cant im­pli­ca­tions for fu­ture fire­fight­ing ef­forts.

“Can we do bet­ter? Yes. You can’t burn 280,000ha un­con­trol­lably and say that was a good thing to do,” he said.

How­ever he would not be drawn on whether a sin­gle pol­icy or agency was re­spon­si­ble for the re­gion’s sig­nif­i­cant fires.

When asked what ar­eas would be un­der re­view, Mr Craw­ford said he was “not in a po­si­tion to pre-empt the re­view’s out­comes” .

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