Bush­fire re­view sparks de­mand

The Western Star - - Rural Weekly -

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.

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