La­bor hit over fire threat

Claims law ex­ac­er­bated bush­fires

Warwick Daily News - - NEWS - RE­NEE VIELLARIS

FARM­ERS are de­mand­ing a far-reach­ing com­mis­sion of in­quiry into the state’s week­long, de­struc­tive in­fer­nos and have blamed the State Gov­ern­ment’s “green-in­spired” land­clear­ing laws for ex­ac­er­bat­ing the bush­fires.

As the dev­as­tat­ing dam­age bill and emo­tional toll mounts, peak farm­ing group AgForce and in­di­vid­ual farm­ers have ac­cused the Gov­ern­ment’s “con­fus­ing” and con­stantly chang­ing Veg­e­ta­tion Man­age­ment Act of pre­vent­ing them from pro­tect­ing their land from fire.

North­ern Aus­tralia Min­is­ter Matt Cana­van said a ju­di­cial in­quiry – just like the Queens­land Floods Com­mis­sion of In­quiry in 2011 – was needed to “get to the bot­tom” of whether La­bor’s laws con­trib­uted to Cen­tral Queens­land’s fires.

AgForce Queens­land’s se­nior pol­icy ad­viser Greg Leach backed the call.

It has also emerged Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son has of­fered the State Gov­ern­ment use of the Aus­tralian De­fence Force to help in the re­cov­ery but it has been re­fused.

In a let­ter to Premier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk, Capri­cor­nia MP Michelle Landry, Flynn MP Ken O’Dowd and Daw­son MP Ge­orge Chris­tensen said there were 300 sol­diers from 7th Bri­gade and 75 from 3rd Bri­gade on standby, ready to help.

Queens­land Sen­a­tor James Mc­Grath moved in the Se­nate yes­ter­day a mo­tion that recog­nised the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment’s laws pre­vented land­hold­ers from prop­erly pro­tect­ing their prop­erty from bush­fires.

It was tied, which means, it was de­feated.

La­bor did not sup­port it and One Na­tional Sen­a­tor Pauline Han­son did not turn up for the vote.

Farm­ers have taken to so­cial me­dia, blam­ing the Gov­ern­ment’s laws for mak­ing it hard to get rid of growth, which cre­ated more fuel for bush­fires.

Dr Leach said the State Gov­ern­ment’s amend­ments to veg­e­ta­tion man­age­ment laws had made con­di­tions worse on the ground for land­hold­ers.

He said the Veg­e­ta­tion Man­age­ment Act, in­tro­duced by La­bor 20 years ago, had been amended more than 40 times, and was con­fus­ing for farm­ers.

DEV­AS­TA­TION: Bush­fires have wreaked havoc across the state over the past week.

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