Andrews Must Explain Cuts to Reduction Burns

Andrews Must Explain Cuts to Reduction Burns

Member for Narracan Gary Blackwood has said data shows Daniel Andrews is placing Victorian communities at risk with cuts to hazard reduction burns.

The recent Forest Fire Management annual report shows a 64 per cent cut in direct fuel management activities to reduce the risk of fire this summer. 

‘In 2014/15, $50.2 million of a $113.9 million budget was spent on direct hazard reduction and last year just $18.2 million of a $121.7 million budget was spent,’ Mr Blackwood said.

‘The redirection of funds to planning and reporting has resulted in a failure to deliver outcomes. This is devastating for all Victorians and the safety of communities, particularly here in Narracan following fires in early 2019 which had already raised concerns around fuel loads and their management,’ said Mr Blackwood

Actual figures from the Forest Fire Management Victoria Fuel Management Report 2018-19 shows a decline in investing in hazard reduction under Andrews.

  • 2018/19 – $121.7m budget – just $18.2m on direct fuel management
  • 2017/18 – $107.9m budget – $30.4m on direct fuel management
  • 2016/17 – $107.9m budget – $40.0m on direct fuel management
  • 2015/16 – $133.3m budget – $44.3m on direct fuel management
  • 2014/15 – $113.9m budget – $50.2m on direct fuel management

This 64 per cent cut continues to put lives at risk and fails to deliver on the 2009 Bushfire Royal Commission recommendation of 5 per cent hazard reduction burns on public land each year.

Shadow Minister for Emergency Services and Member for Gembrook Brad Battin said it was a significant failure by the Andrews Labor Government which was resulting in unnecessary risks for local communities.

‘Andrews’ cuts to hazard reduction burns puts Victoria at a higher risk of major fires this season,’ Mr Battin said.

‘With just 15 per cent of the hazard reduction budget going to protecting communities and 85 per cent in reporting and planning, it is no wonder fuel loads across Victoria are at extremely dangerous levels.

‘Andrews’ decision to refuse to release fuel load data maps for Victoria is hiding the fact fuel loads are so high due to his cuts in hazard reduction burning.

‘The fire season is not finished; there is still a very real danger of more fires across Victoria, putting lives and communities at risk. Andrews has failed the targets for hazard reduction and it’s time to warn people of the increased danger so they can prepare for the remainder of this summer.

‘Only a Michael O’Brien led Liberal Nationals Government will commit to implementing the recommendations of the 2009 Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission and implement the 5 per cent of public land burn recommendation, targeting more of these burns to the areas with the higher risk ratings,’ said Mr Battin.

Gary Blackwood MP
State Member for Narracan
3/24 Mason Street
WARRAGUL 3820 

Ph: 5623 1960
Fax: 5623 4506

Email: gary.blackwood@parliament.vic.gov.au  

                   

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