Bushfire review sparks demand
THE Queensland Government has faced a strong backlash from the agriculture sector following the release of the Inspector-General Emergency Management’s 2018 Queensland Bushfires Review.
While the review cited a broad range of weather, climate, landscape and human factors combining to produce widespread and, in some locations, catastrophic fire conditions in November and December 2018, acknowledgement of factors around the state’s Vegetation Management Act has raised the ire of ag advocacy groups and political figures.
Issues raised in the review included a lack of clarity for landholders around the clearing of fire-breaks under the Act, and the inadequacy, in some landscapes, of the 10m break that is allowable under the Act.
Federal Minister for Emergency Services David Littleproud said the State Government must review their vegetation management laws.
“Not only has the Queensland Government made laws so ridiculous they don’t allow sensible firebreaks, they’ve also failed to communicate properly when farmers can clear fire breaks,” he said.
Mr Littleproud cited a section of the IGEM review that said: “One property owner in Central Highlands demonstrated his need to build a (fire) break larger than the legislated 10m along the fence line, because the breaks on adjacent state land were inadequate to provide appropriate protection. This approach, while highly practical and undoubtedly effective during these events, was technically in breach of the legislation”.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said QFES officers would be embedded in the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy ‘Veg Hub’ program.
Farmers can phone 13 VEG (135 834) for advice about land clearing.