State’s Bush Fire Survey Slammed

AgForce says it remains a little baffled as to how the State government can claim to be staging an inquiry into last year’s bush fires without engaging with its members as part of any investigation.

Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford says independent research company, MCR, will be engaged to survey effected Queenslanders.

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The survey will touch on facets of the fires including public warnings and information, heatwave, evacuation, mitigation and public risk perception regarding bushfire and heatwave.

General President Georgie Somerset says AgForce had not been approached for their input into the fire response sought.

“AgForce is yet to see a letter the Minister said was sent to ‘a range of key stakeholders’ asking for input.”

“We are disappointed that the Government does not consider AgForce a key stakeholder on vegetation and bushfire management. Even though our producers have so much to lose from bushfires.”

“If the Government is serious about learning from these recent tragic bushfires and preventing a recurrence, why wouldn’t they pick up the phone to us? Hundreds of our members have battled for weeks, and continue to do so in Central Queensland, to save their livestock and properties from fire.”

“While a random phone survey may provide interesting results, it is no substitute for talking to people in regional Queensland who were directly impacted by the bushfires. Like any survey, the usefulness of this poll will depend on what and who is asked, and this survey appears to miss the point.”

Green Shirts Movement Founder Martin Bella, who spent a week fighting fires around his Sarina property, labels the survey as a joke.

“They haven’t listed to us about vegetation management and about having a parliamentary inquiry into the fires, instead they’re going the cheap option and have got a marketing company on board. It’s got nothing to do with looking at the causes of the disaster.”

Ms Somerset encouraged anyone impacted by the fires to make a public submission. Information on how to lodge a public submission is available online at www.igem.qld.gov.au