The long awaited report into the last summer’s devastating bushfires has exposed the Liberal Government’s failure to act on the recommendations from previous disasters.
The key recommendation from two independent reports into the 2016 bushfires in the Wilderness World Heritage Area was for the government to invest in training volunteer remote area firefighting teams.
Three years later, the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council’s (AFAC) report, released today, contains almost exactly the same recommendation.
Labor Shadow Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management, Shane Broad said the Liberals needed to explain to Tasmanians why they had failed to act on the recommendations of past reviews.
“Labor commends the efforts of our emergency services under extraordinarily difficult circumstances, but we also need to ensure they are given all the tools and resources they need to do their job,” Dr Broad said.
“The Liberal Government stands condemned for its failure to invest in Remote Area Teams, despite the recommendations of multiple reports.
“Labor understands that not a single volunteer has yet been trained in remote area firefighting.
“This is a serious failing that has left our community and our environment at greater risk from bushfires.”
The Liberals must explain why there was no Aerial Intelligence Gathering (AIG) aircraft in Tasmania to assist with the firefighting effort.
“The AFAC review found that three days after the Gell River Fire was first detected fire crews withdrew, believing it had been extinguished.
“These crews sought assistance from an aerial intelligence gathering aircraft (AIG) to try to detect any hot spots using thermal imaging but there was not one available in the state at the time.
“The Gell River fire ended up destroying 35,062 ha, including sensitive sections of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and commercial timber reserves.
“The Liberals must ensure that this resource is available for the coming fire season.”
Shane Broad MP
Shadow Police, Fire and Emergency Services Minister