Today in Question Time, the Andrews Labor Government did not deny that there has been a 75% reduction in planned burning to minimise the risk of bushfires.
Our brave firefighters are doing an amazing job to keep Victorians safe from the Bunyip bushfires but these reports indicate that the scale of this disaster could have been avoided if back burning had of been done.
The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission found that “prescribed burning is one of the main tools for fire management on public land”.
But despite this recommendation of the Royal Commission, the DELWP Annual Report reveals that the amount of planned burning has dropped from 234,614 hectares in 2014-15 to only 64,978 hectares in 2017-18, a reduction of almost 75% under the Andrews Labor Government.
These concerns were confirmed today when Mr Andrew Clarke of Jinks Creek Winery, which has been destroyed by fire, said: "I've been begging them [Forest Fire Management Victoria] for 20 years to burn off the state forest at the back of our place and still to this day it hasn't happened."
When these questions about Mr Andrew Clark’s winery were asked in Parliament today, Labor MPs yelled out “wrong”. Mr Clark has lost his business, he knows the back of his property hasn’t been back burned and Labor’s first response is to disrespect him and to effectively call him a liar.
It’s just more proof of an arrogant government that thinks they aren’t answerable to Victorians.
The Andrews Labor Government has failed to fully implement this recommendation from the Black Saturday Royal Commission and it’s putting Victorians at risk.
David Morris MP
Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change