Tasmanian Times

Media Release

Labor and unions seek to politicise bushfires

Michael Ferguson, Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management

Grubby political point scoring from Labor and the AWU today is not supported by the facts and is designed to create undue anxiety in the community around our firefighters response to the ongoing bushfire situation around the state.

There was a comprehensive, multi-agency response to the fires and any resource requested by our firefighting experts was made available by government.

The Government has, and will always, follow the advice of actual, proven professionals when it comes to fighting bushfires. Our firefighters have done, and are doing, an excellent job which is demonstrated by the level of success they have had protecting both life and property. We all owe them our thanks, not opportunistic politicking.

We’ve already said on numerous occasions that a proper review will occur once all fires are out. Yet while fires are still going, Rebecca White has chosen to once again try and score political points to distract from her policy crisis.

Hundreds of firefighting personnel from the Parks and Wildlife Service, Tasmania Fire Service and Sustainable Timber Tasmania have worked together to combat bushfires around the State. They have also been supported by over 1600 firefighting personnel from interstate and New Zealand.

The Parks and Wildlife Service has 180 fire trained staff, in excess of 80 of whom are remote area accessed trained. The Tasmania Fire Service has 305 career firefighters and up to 5,000 volunteer firefighters which can be deployed to fight bushfires.

The Tasmania Fire Service also deployed in excess of 40 water bombing and intelligence-gathering aircraft from across the State and the country.

To prepare for the bushfire season, the Government made a record $55 million investment in our targeted Fuel Reduction Program – one of the biggest failings of the former Labor-Green Government – which burnt the equivalent of over 40,000 football fields around the state. And following the 2016 report the Government has also invested $4 million to improve bushfire management in the wilderness area.

Labor’s behaviour now sees them joining the Greens in point scoring on bushfires and criticising those who are still fighting fires.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Simon Warriner

    February 22, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    It is noted that the Minister perpetuates the confusion between the good works of those actually fighting the fires and the performance of those making the decisions that happens to politicians any time the public asks difficult questions about little fires that got big enough to be fought properly when they could have been more efficiently extinguished by timely application of significant effort.

    For a little insight into the minds of those making the decisions I suggest he ask MHA Roger Jaensch for a look at the document I gave him back in early 2014.

    His confidence might wilt, just a tad.

  2. Russell

    February 22, 2019 at 7:52 am

    I’m afraid that YOU Mr Fergusson, and Wee Willy Winkie, are the ones who politicised the bushfires by DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the fires until they were totally out of control, enough for you to put your grubby little arsonist-abetting hands out to the Fe(de)ral Government for emergency bushfire money.

    YOU let small fires get totally out of control before you made enough funds available to fight the fires and STILL NO LARGE WATER BOMBERS! The result is over 200,000 hectares of blackened landscape, and possibly more to come.

    Any inquiry into the bushfires MUST include the possibility of criminal charges being laid against Ministers for their deliberate and willing dereliction of Duty of Care to keep Tasmania’s people, assets and environment safe.

  3. Clive Stott

    February 22, 2019 at 2:04 am

    Once the fires are out?

    What an admission. Even today after all this time you have still failed to put these fires out, Minister? You still continue to let these fires burn to blacken our state and cause harmful carcinogenic smoke.

    ” …any resource requested by our firefighting experts was made available by government.” Yes, that tells us a lot.

    If the Minister is so good at maths and likes to talk figures to introduce some relevance, how about converting the mega tonnes of particulates that were released from all these fires that have been let burn into an equivalent number of cancer causing cigarettes?

    Hint: work on 0.4 gm/hr per cigarette.

    cleanairtas

  4. Tony Stone

    February 21, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    The blame game continues, whilst the reality is left untouched. Not one politician, now or ever, has a clue on how to tackle the fire storm future ahead. They can’t even handle today’s fires, so there is no hope for the future with the current parties and system in control.

    All they can do is throw money at everything, hoping it will stick and make a difference, but all it does is go down the drain. Bushfires should be politicised as it’s the entire fault of the political system and the parties that we are in this situation, and there is no one else to blame but them. They didn’t learn from the 1929 fires, the 2013 fires, or from any year or major fire in between.

    For all political parties it’s business as usual, and the only thing that counts is their ego, vested interests and the ruling ideology.

    The workable approach to the bushfire future requires a long term strategy that in the end doesn’t cost much money and never needs to have more money thrown at it, but instead brings in money and jobs. Like anything to do with the future, it needs to be economically self-supporting .. and that can be done in mitigating and controlling bushfires.

    It’s not rocket science. It just requires simple logic and proper forethought.

  5. max

    February 21, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    Help! I need an interpreter for this one:

    “To prepare for the bushfire season, the Government made a record $55 million investment in our targeted Fuel Reduction Program – one of the biggest failings of the former Labor-Green Government – which burnt the equivalent of over 40,000 football fields around the state. And following the 2016 report the Government has also invested $4 million to improve bushfire management in the wilderness area.”

    What went wrong? $55 million investment in a targeted Fuel Reduction Program that has no discernible evidence proving that it was a total waste of money.

    Labor-Green Government – which burnt the equivalent of over 40,000 football fields around the state. How does that compare with Liberals $55 million investment in targeted fuel reduction? These are rubbery figures that mean nothing to me. All is shows to me is that both Labor and Liberal had poor advice.

    Who are the government’s advisers?

    • William Boeder

      February 21, 2019 at 6:18 pm

      max, in reply to your call for an interpreter to demystify the hubristic claims expressed by Michael Ferguson MP.

      First of all the identity of the advisers, I would suggest this would be the same advisers employed by Guy Barnett MP that had advised him that all and every amount of the ongoing logging of Tasmania’s depleted Crown Land indigenous forests was sustainable, without the advisers having left the comfort of their advisory offices to qualify their advisory statements.

      The basis for my suggestion ties in with the volume of non-credible claims that consistently issue from the DPIPWE minister’s office.

      The next item for interpretation would be the amount of $55 million dollars that had been specified by minister Ferguson, perhaps on your request he will provide you with list of the breakdown of the $55 mil’ or maybe a spreadsheet, that names each of the recipients of the $55 million dollars ‘investment’ and that will the show in detail the expenditure of each recipients proportion of the $55 million dollars referred to.

      Finally, how is it that the units of measurement employed by this university educated minister, are football fields, when easily more identifiable would be the customary units of hectares?

      Now max, a question for your good self, do you have any idea of the remuneration package that the State government coughs up each year to acquire the annual services of these advisory exemplars?

  6. Geoff Holloway

    February 21, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    That was neither the Labor Party nor the Greens – the central tenet of the report, the failure of the State Government to fully implement recommendations from previous government reports between 2013 and 2018 was taken from the United Tasmania Group (UTG) Report without acknowledgement by either the Mercury (despite two complaints to David Killick) or Rebecca White (who has not returned my call)! I suggest that you read UTG’s full report – https://tasmaniantimes.com/2019/02/united-tasmania-group-utg-inquiry-into-public-and-government-responses-to-the-tasmanian-bushfires-of-2019/

    • Geoff Holloway

      February 21, 2019 at 3:43 pm

      I have just now, 3.40 pm, had a call from Rebecca White’s office .. more to come later ..

  7. William Boeder

    February 20, 2019 at 8:13 pm

    Perhaps the minister might touch upon the specifics regarding the delay by the Tas Fire Service hierarchy to actively intervene and make an assault upon the WHA National Park bushfire from the time of its discovery back in 2018 dates approximate to the 26th-27th December period?
    Then the minister may like to advise the people of Tasmania of why the blatant misuse of toxic fire retardant chemicals in this same park as an uninspiring and decidely unwelcome method or means to suppress an ongoing ignored commencement of this bushfire had occurred, despite this State’s-obliged ‘duty of care’ to protect all aspects of Tasmania’s World Heritage listed (with UNESCO) National Conservation Park.

    Unfortunately articles published by one of Tasmania’s fact omitting mainstream media publications confirms the contentions held in the above.
    Another topic claim requiring further elaboration “the Government made a record $55 million investment in our targeted Fuel Reduction Program” will be welcomed by the citizens of this State, also, the actual contribution provided by this State’s proven non-credible Sustainable Timbers Tasmania.

    I, as do many in number of Tasmanian residents, continue to be troubled by claims and statements of inconclusive fact being published in Tasmania’s mainstream media news services.

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