LNP Calls For Parliamentary Inquiry Into Bushfires
The Liberal National Party is calling for a Parliamentary Inquiry following the devastating bushfires across Queensland.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said communities rocked by bushfires deserved answers and a Parliamentary Inquiry was the appropriate forum.
“Concerns have been raised about land management practices to manage fuel loads, how our national parks are managed and what landholders also want to do to protect their property and livestock,” Ms Frecklington said.
“These bushfires have been devastating, but we need to learn lessons about how we can prevent it from happening again.
“Climate change can’t be used as an excuse to do nothing. If anything, climate change means we should be adapting our response more.
“The LNP’s position is there needs to be an inquiry on this issue, and we will be moving to establish a Parliamentary Inquiry in the new year. We would welcome the Labor Government’s support.”
LNP Shadow Minister for Fire, Emergency Services and Volunteers Lachlan Millar said the multi-party inquiry would involve public hearings and the opportunity to talk to affected landholders and communities in regional Queensland.
“This is an issue that should be above politics because it’s vitally important we get the policy settings right,” Mr Millar said.
“We know the number of burns by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services has dropped dramatically*.
“Getting bushfire management right can save lives and save communities.
“It will also save native vegetation from being destroyed by bushfires and protect wildlife and livestock.”
What the Inquiry should look at:
- Managing national parks
- Issuing of backburning permits to allow landholders to manage fuel loads
- *QON on fuel load management (https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/tableOffice/questionsAnswers/2018/1460-2018.pdf)
- Penalties for those deliberately starting fires
- Communication of information to affected communities
- Implementation of Auditor-General’s recommendations (https://www.qao.qld.gov.au/reports-parliament/follow-bushfire-prevention-and-preparedness)
Federal MP George Christensen said farmers and others impacted by Queensland’s bushfires are angry about the State Labor Government’s restrictions on land clearing and back-burning, and the impact this has had on the rapid spread of fires.
Mr Christensen said he has been bombarded with calls from farmers who are demanding change.
“We’ve been through a devastating time in Central and North Queensland due to the impact of these bushfires, but the message I have from frustrated landholders is that much could and should have been done to prevent this,” Mr Christensen said.
“Farmers are frustrated by Queensland Labor’s vegetation management laws and the restrictions on creating fire breaks.
“They’re frustrated by the restrictions around back-burning on their own land.
“And they’re angry about the mismanagement of national park and state forest land where there’s been no visible signs of fire breaks and back-burning or any other sort of fire control for many years.
“In fact, it’s been reported to me that the fire which affected thousands of hectares of grazing land around Bloomsbury started in the Cathu State Forest.
“A fire in the forest was reported back in August but nothing was done about it,” he said.
“Landholders predicted that this fire would roll down the side of the mountain and spread rapidly, and that is exactly what happened.”
Mr Christensen joined other Queensland MPs and Senators today in the call for a judicial inquiry into the fires which caused so much devastation.
“The Queensland Labor Government’s extreme green-inspired land clearing laws are denying farmers the right to manage their land as they know best,” Mr Christensen said.
“Labor and the extreme greens, along with bureaucrats should not be dictating terms and conditions on vegetation management for local farmers because honestly it’s just too bloody dangerous.”