The Palaszczuk Labor Government has bowed to community pressure to extend the timeframe and scope of its review into the devastating Queensland bushfires.
LNP Shadow Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Lachlan Millar said despite Queenslanders being granted more time to provide feedback, the review by the Inspector-General Emergency Management still fell well short of the full parliamentary inquiry required.
“More than 100 bushfires ravaged our rural and regional communities at the end of last year and Queenslanders were shocked at the devastating impact,” Mr Millar said.
“Serious questions were raised about the state’s handling of bushfire preparedness, particularly in state-controlled land including National Parks.
“Instead of merely extending a lacklustre review, the LNP believes a full parliamentary inquiry is the appropriate forum to learn lessons about how we can prevent the devastating bushfires from happening again.
“Unfortunately, we have a situation where the department will effectively be reviewing itself and will unlikely deliver the level of scrutiny and findings needed to hold this Labor Government to account.
“This internal review fails to consider the issues at the heart of the bushfire disasters - the mismanagement of fuel loads and fire breaks on state-controlled land.
“We know there have been nearly 1000 less Hazard Reduction Burns conducted and attended by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service in 2018 compared to 2015.
“We know the Labor Government has failed to implement a single recommendation from the Queensland Auditor-General’s 2015 Bushfire prevention and preparedness report.
“A parliamentary inquiry would investigate whether the state Labor Government deliberately, or through its own mismanagement, allowed Queensland to become susceptible to bushfires.
“Queenslanders deserve a government with a clear plan moving forward. We need answers now.”
In the absence of a Queensland parliamentary review, Mr Millar encouraged anyone impacted by the fires to make a public submission at www.igem.qld.gov.au