Queensland will remain more vulnerable to devastating bushfires after the Palaszczuk Labor Government blocked a crucial Parliamentary Inquiry into last year’s disaster.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said a Parliamentary Inquiry was vital because the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s review would fail to investigate key concerns surrounding what fueled the 2018 bushfire disaster.
“The impact these fires had on our communities, the environment and our farmers was significant,” Ms Frecklington said.
“A Parliamentary Inquiry was an important opportunity to get to the bottom of what contributed to the severity of the bushfires and what could have been done better.
“We believe mismanagement and bureaucracy worsened those fires.
“I share the concerns many Queenslanders hold about land management practices to control fuel loads, how our national parks are managed, and what landholders want to do to protect their property and livestock.
“We called for bipartisan support for a Parliamentary Inquiry to learn lessons from this tragedy, but Annastacia Palaszczuk played politics instead of working toward better bushfire prevention.
“More than a million hectares were destroyed in a fortnight of fires and it was clear a Parliamentary Inquiry was needed to get our bushfire management policies right.”
LNP Shadow Minister for Fire, Emergency Services and Volunteers Lachlan Millar said landholders and communities in regional Queensland deserved to be heard.
“Our firefighters and volunteers did an outstanding job responding to the fires,” Mr Millar said.
“The Parliamentary Inquiry is about getting bushfire prevention and management right to save lives and save communities.
“Ineffective bushfire management in our national parks and a dramatic drop in the number of burns by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services are key concerns*.
“Improving our preparedness and prevention activities will also save native vegetation from being destroyed by bushfires and protect wildlife and livestock.”
*QON on fuel load management:
Motion moved Gregory LNP MP Lachlan Millar:
- That the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee inquire into and report to the Legislative Assembly by 6 May 2019 on the effectiveness of the Queensland Government’s bushfire prevention and preparedness activities leading to the 2018 Queensland fires.
- In undertaking this inquiry, the committee should consider:
- Analysis of fire reduction practices conducted on State owned land and national parks including the maintenance of strategic fire breaks and fire access trails and the reduction of fuel loads;
- Examination of the appropriateness of funding provided by Government to implement fire reduction practices on State owned land and national parks and provide for overtime for QPWS officers when they are needed to assist with the response to a fire in a national park;
- The effectiveness of the Government’s native vegetation and land management laws and practices in managing fire in the Queensland context;
- The reduction in the QFES Hazard Reduction Burns in 2017 and 2018 compared to previous years;
- The effectiveness and timeliness of government issued fire reduction permits needed by landholders to conduct fire preparedness activities;
- The failure to implement any of the Auditor-General’s recommendations from ‘Bushfire prevention and preparedness (Report 10:2014-15)’;
- Consideration of the appropriateness of penalties for those deliberately starting fires; and
- Analysis of communication practices undertaken to provide information to affected communities before, during and after bushfire events.