Labor votes against crucial bushfire inquiry

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The Palaszczuk Labor Government has voted against an open and transparent Parliamentary Inquiry into the state’s bushfire prevention and preparedness strategies.

LNP Shadow Minister for Fire, Emergency Services and Volunteers Lachlan Millar said countless communities across regional Queensland had been devastated by bushfires recently.

"The LNP called for a Parliamentary Inquiry on behalf Queenslanders who have suffered the impacts of not one, but two, unusual and frightening fire seasons," Mr Millar said.

"Queenslanders deserve to know why this Labor Government has overseen an 83 per cent reduction in overall fire prevention activities*.

“This is on top of Labor slashing funding for the Rural Fire Service by $13 million**.”

The Inspector-General of Emergency Management was tasked with a review following the major bushfires in November and December 2018 that raged across more than a million hectares of land.

The review showed alarming falls in bushfire prevention measures by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services in 2018 compared to 2016:

  • 83% reduction in overall completed fire prevention activities
  • 75% reduction in completed hazard reduction burns
  • 82% reduction in completed fire breaks
  • 88% reduction in community education activities

"While the Labor Government should be doing more to prepare for bushfires, instead they are cutting back on proven bushfire prevention measures,” Mr Millar said.

"Our firies do an incredible job protecting the public and property, but they are being let down by a Labor government that is failing to ensure emergency services have the resources they need to do their job.

“To make things worse, a report by the Queensland Audit Office found QFES didn’t know if Queensland's fuel loads were being managed effectively***.”

LNP Leader and Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington moved a motion for an inquiry in Parliament yesterday.

"The LNP's call for a Parliamentary Inquiry had the full support of the crossbench, but Annastacia Palaszczuk and her Labor Government voted against it,” Mr Millar said.

“Labor opted for a secret government review designed to hide the truth and cover up any failings of the government.

"The LNP will continue to hold the Labor Government to account because nothing is more important than community safety.”

Background:

* IGEM 2018 Queensland Bushfires Review p74 (graphic): https://www.igem.qld.gov.au/reports-and-publications/reports/Documents/IGEM%20Queensland%20Bushfire%20REVIEW%202019.pdf

** https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/tableOffice/questionsAnswers/2019/1488-2019.pdf

*** Follow-up of Bushfire prevention and preparedness (Report 5: 2018–19) - Audit Office report p4: https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/Documents/TableOffice/TabledPapers/2018/5618T1579.pdf

 
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