Senator Peter Whish-Wilson has just returned from Bicheno, East Coast Tasmania where he met with and listened to fire-impacted communities, businesses and experts on community fire protection.
“The success of recent selective Tasmanian Parks &Wildlife Service fuel reduction burns, which helped save Tasmania’s magnificent Freycinet Peninsula and Coles Bay from catastrophe in last week’s Tasmanian East Coast bush fires, shows what can be achieved with appropriate resourcing and fire management strategies.
“The Australian Greens have always supported the principle of selective fuel reduction burns.
“Any misconceptions regarding this fact are due to the fact that the Greens don’t support forest industry production “re-generation burns”, which are quite different to – but frequently mistaken for - selective “fuel reduction” burns.
“The Greens recognise that Parks &Wildlife is presently under-resourced in relation to assessing and participating in selective fuel reduction burns, especially on private land.
“Community frustrations that past requests to conduct genuine fuel reduction burns on both private land and public reserves (for community protection), have been complicated by complex liability issues and a lack of resources and expertise.
“Therefore it’s important to see federal resourcing and planning for appropriate national forest fire fuel reduction strategies.
“This includes training and developing the expertise necessary to implement any future plan.
“The present IGA funding package is perfectly placed for developing a Tasmanian plan, including using existing expertise in the state for future state wide training and operations.
“The risk of extreme weather events will increase in the future due to Global Warming, and we need to start planning for future fire risk reduction strategies now.
“This will be examined at the imminent Senate Inquiry into Extreme Weather Events.
“The Australian Greens secured support for this inquiry on 28 November 2012, hearings will begin in February.
“The Greens will also make a submission pertaining to fuel reduction to the independent inquiry into the Tasmanian fires promised by Premier Lara Giddings.”