The Fire Risk – Current Regulations Unworkable

Excessive fuel loads on government land are a major cause of the risk of fire according to many farmers who faced the force of fire in the past two weeks. And a raft of politicians are now joining force.

Capricornia MP Michelle Landry says residents are calling for a return of ‘cool’ burning to reduce the fire load.

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“People are saying that they think they should be able to back burn. Queensland has never seen fires as devastating as this before-You’re not allowed to back burn, the clearing of vegetation and all the rest of it.”

“Before white people arrived in Australia, Indigenous people used to burn off to regenerate and keep fires under control.”

Katter’s Australian Party MPs are calling for landholders to be given greater flexibility and have the Vegetation Management (Clearing for Relevant Purposes) Amendment Bill before parliament.

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto says he is concerned existing State Government legislation does not give landholders adequate flexibility to construct proper firebreaks.

Mackay Regional Councillor and Sarina farmer Martin Bella says he’ll demand the ‘Green Shirt Movement’ has more input into any review into the fire response and says he speaks from personal experience.

“Wednesday arvo we spent preparing and Thursday it all went to hell. About midnight be managed to get a backburn along the breaks and we’ve basically been patrolling those breaks.”

“It was extremely frustrating because the ability to push breaks through government land has been hampered, with the old tracks over grown, we couldn’t get a dozer up there.”

“Vegetation laws prevent us from putting in fire breaks of any significance. There’s crap right up to the fence line that you can’t clear back, there’s no grid lines through the place, all the tracks are overgrown.”

“We need to formulate a response to the current state government about how their current regulations have made things unworkable and contributed to the devastation and loss in these fires – vegetation laws limiting woody weed control, firebreak and fence break widths.

“It is one thing to not be listed to and another to be regarded with absolute contempt.”