THE LNP Opposition has released critical questions it wants answered into Queensland’s bushfire prevention and preparedness activities.
LNP Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington has written to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today saying an open and transparent parliamentary inquiry into Queensland’s bushfire preparedness was necessary.
The LNP is seeking to establish a Queensland inquiry, separate to the national inquiry announced by Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud last week.
Both inquiries would have a strong focus on Queensland’s controversial vegetation management laws, which were introduced by the Palaszczuk government earlier this year.
“Climate change can’t be used as an excuse to do nothing,” Ms Frecklington said.
“If anything, climate change means we should be adapting our response more.
“Queensland must be able to learn serious lessons from this tragedy to prevent future disasters.
This is not about blame. This is about getting our bushfire management policies right, so lives are saved and communities are protected.
“This is not about blame. This is about getting our bushfire management policies right, so lives are saved and communities are protected.”
Premier Palaszczuk angered many in rural Queensland on Friday when she dismissed claims of government culpability, saying climate change had caused the bushfire crisis.
The seemingly unsympathetic comments came on top of the announced shock closure of Queensland agricultural training colleges, reinforcing views that rural Queensland is a low priority for the Palaszczuk government.
The LNP has called for:
- Analysis of fire reduction practices conducted on State owned land and national parks including the maintenance of fire breaks and reduction of fuel loads.
- An examination of the appropriateness of funding provided by Government to implement fire reduction practices in State owned land and national parks.
- An assessment of the effectiveness of the government’s native vegetation and land management laws and practices.
- An explanation why there has been a reduction in the QFES Hazard Reduction Burns in 2017 and 2018 compared to previous years.
- An assessment of the effectiveness and timeliness of government issued fire reduction permits needed by landholders to conduct fire preparedness activities.
- The justification for why the government has not fully implemented any of the Auditor-General’s recommendations from 2014-15 report.
- Consideration of the appropriateness of penalties for those deliberately starting fires.
- Analysis of communication practices undertaken to provide affected communities before, during and after bushfire events.
Ms Frecklington said the LNP shared the considerable concerns of many Queenslanders about land management policies and our national parks as well as the government’s commitment to preparedness activities to reduce vegetation fuel loads.
“Over the past few weeks Queensland has been devastated by a series of unprecedented bushfires destroying our natural vegetation, wildlife and property,” Ms Frecklington said.
“Like many Queenslanders, I was shocked at the ferocity of the bushfires that our rural and regional communities have had to endure this fire season.
“It is a testament to our communities, volunteer firefighters and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services personnel’s professionalism that the fires were able to be managed so well.
“Despite the professionalism of our firefighters, and all involved in the disaster response, it is only fitting that everyone is given the opportunity to review and investigate what could have been done better.”
Ms Frecklington said the inquiry needed to particularly hear from landholders and communities in regional Queensland.