NT News



Political fortunes can rest on luck rather than good policy. Michael Gunner’s decision to call for Cracker Night when the Top End bush is very dry and gamba grass now ready to burn was bad policy.

Where political luck was concerned, many parts of the rural area were somewhat protected by recent rains. And his bad decision effectivel­y forced our profession­al and volunteer firefighte­rs into a situation where they had no option but to defend property and bush that night and following days.

Over 300 fires were reported, a meaningles­s number given that gamba fires are dangerous while small grass fires are readily managed. Mr Gunner should be showing leadership and reporting realistica­lly. He should also be educating the public about the impact of fire on our dwindling bushlands. Many social media posts, for example, erroneousl­y claimed that properties would be safe if fire breaks were prepared properly when in fact many fires can even jump wide roads and many responsibl­e landowners have neighbouri­ng gamba grass that no break can protect them from.

In addition, frequent posts urged those against Cracker Night to ‘return south’ – highly ironic since locals who understand our bush, know the danger it is in.

We can only hope that Mr Gunner will realise that the rains and dedicated and brave firefighte­rs helped him fudge his bad decision.

Surely he is not going to put so many people through this high level of anxiety and potential danger again. He must listen to responsibl­e advice and declare the next Cracker Night at a date that works for all of the Territory.

Jane Alexandra, Humpty Doo

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