Step up to fight fires
WELCOME to 2019 for what we hope to be a full and productive year for agriculture.
2018 had its challenges and no doubt the coming year will also present us with new and unexpected issues.
To date the season has been excellent, particularly in t(he north, which has received regular rainfall resulting in good crops and to some extent a relaxation of the irrigation regimen.
Unfortunately, over the Christmas/New Year period we have once again seen fires ravaging our landscape. The so called Gell River fire, which started in the World Heritage area from a dry lightening strike, has dominated the south of the state for the better part of a week with heavy smoke blanketing many parts of southern Tasmania.
Readers may recall that we had a similar World Heritage fire in early 2016 and as then we now have a raft of so-called environmentalists criticising the fire fighting efforts of those who have put their lives at risk to protect this valuable environment.
It is incredible to think that these same people who claim to protect the environment and care for it so much are never seen on the front lines fighting these fires but leave it to others to put their lives at risk.
As if this was not enough, they sit back in the armchairs pontificating about how these fires should be fought and criticising any measures that have been undertaken.
It is high time that the same people that seem so able to organise rallies to protect these environments are unable or unwilling to provide similar manpower to assist fighting the fires or providing logistic support.
It really has reached the stage where it is to put up or shut up. No doubt these comments will solicit more criticism from these armchair warriors, but it is high time that their lack of action when it counts is called out.
I have to say that Minister Ferguson’s comment that these criticisms by environmentalists were ill informed and disgraceful are spot on.
That said, we do need to ensure that the Parks and Wildlife service has resources to deal with these fires in a timely fashion.
Let’s not forget that there are other agricultural enterprises that can be adversely affected by not only the fire, but the extensive smoke it generates.
As a result Biosecurity Tasmania general manager Lloyd Klumpp said some significant changes had been made to strengthen the state’s border protection including more sampling and greater surveillance.
‘One of the lessons from this is Queensland fruit fly is not just a problem for pest free areas like Tasmania and Western Australia, it’s a problem for whole nation,” he said.
“Tasmanian and Victoria led a review of the national fruit fly fumigation protocols and they have been adjusted nationally in order to improve the fumigation process.
“But it must be understood even that process will never be 100 per cent perfect given the nature of the fly.”
Spreyton apple growers the Squibb family, whose orchard is located in the control zone, were some of the producers celebrating
Brett Squibb said it has been a very difficult year for all growers within the control areas and they were looking forward to putting it behind them.
“It has been a long year and we’re really looking forward to getting back to some normality,” he said.
“I just hope that in another 12 months we can look back ad say we got through it and we’ll never have to do that again.”
Despite the challenges and financial impact of the incursion on many growers Mr Squibb said some positives have come out of it.
“I think one of the best things is them amount of public awareness that’s out there now that we didn’t have before,” he said.
“In some ways it has brought us all together more and I hope that will continue.” this week’s milestone.