RECENT BLAZE: This image captured the early stages of the Cobraball bushfire burning near Old Byfield Road in November is what our politicians are intent on avoiding as they discuss bushfire preparedness counterstrategies.
RECENT BLAZE: This image captured the early stages of the Cobraball bushfire burning near Old Byfield Road in November is what our politicians are intent on avoiding as they discuss bushfire preparedness counterstrategies.

Capricornia MP backs hazard and emissions reduction plan

CAPRICORNIA MP Michelle Landry has thrown her support behind Prime Minister Scott Morrison's assertion that hazard reduction measures were as important as emissions reduction for reducing the risk of catastrophic bushfires.

Mr Morrison has called for a national standard for bushfire hazard reduction burns, believing that tracking measures to cut fuel loads should be transparent and reportable much like emissions data.

Ms Landry said hazard mitigation had a direct and tangible impact on people's lives and safety and were the most important step to mitigating bushfire risks right now.

Bungundarra farmer Robert shows David Littleproud, Michelle Landry, Bill Ludwig and Steve Smith his Cobraball bushfire damaged crop of mango trees.
Bungundarra farmer Robert shows David Littleproud, Michelle Landry, Bill Ludwig and Steve Smith his Cobraball bushfire damaged crop of mango trees.

She thought it was a reasonable expectation to have national standards for bushfire-hazard reduction burns and increased transparency of the process and the progress of meeting targets.

"While hazard reduction burns are the responsibility of the state and territory governments, I believe increased transparency into whether back burning targets are met would assist in easing the minds of farmers, primary producers and anyone who lives off the land," Ms Landry said.

"I think national standard for bushfire hazard reduction burns will need to be carefully considered, along with considerable input from the states and territories.

"If the Federal Government is expected to report on emission reduction figures, I believe it is fair for the states and territories to report on how hazard reduction burns are progressing."

The Prime Minister also flagged hazard-reduction burns, landclearing laws and management of native vegetation and national parks as critical state issues to be scrutinised.

Ms Landry said she was constantly receiving feedback from farmers and primary producers that an insufficient number of cool burns were happening, there were too many restrictions on land clearing and not enough back burning.

Of the 812 hazard-reduction burns planned by QFES since 2016, 439 were completed.

"If the optimal time frame to conduct back burning is shrinking, we want to know what is reasonably being done to take advantage of it," she said.

"I think many farmers would jump at the opportunity to work constructively with the state and territory governments to ensure a balance is struck between conservation and minimising the risk of bushfires as much as possible.

"I believe that where possible, cattle and other livestock should be allowed into national parks to feed on the fodder and vegetation."

Acting Fire and Emergency Services Minister Di Farmer rebuked the Prime Minister's comments on hazard mitigation saying none of the experts who fought fires agreed with him.

Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig with the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk speaking to Eddie Cowie whose family farm was affected by the bushfires
Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig with the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk speaking to Eddie Cowie whose family farm was affected by the bushfires

"Put simply, politicians shouldn't be telling firefighters how to do their jobs," she said.

"Despite windows of opportunity to safety conduct hazard reduction burns becoming smaller and smaller, Queensland has reduced hazards across more than 4 million hectares since 2015 with more than a million hectares in the past year alone.

"Only two per cent of Queensland fires were in ­national parks and as the Fire Commissioner has repeatedly said, it's not the amount of hazard reduction but where it is done.

"There are no laws preventing property holders from building a fire break."

At a time when Australians are demanding national leadership on climate change, Ms Farmer said the Prime Minister wanted to talk about ­anything but the changing climate and Australia's lack of action was becoming an "international embarrassment".

Aerial photos of Cobraball fire aftermath.
Aerial photos of Cobraball fire aftermath.

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese said climate change had contributed to the intensity of the fires and the length of the season, accusing Mr Morrison of being reluctant to take action.

Addressing her government's approach towards reducing carbon emissions, Ms Landry said they had "overachieved on their commitment under the Kyoto Protocol, something few countries have done".

"We will also meet our Paris commitment to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030," she said.

Property holders can call 135 VEG for additional information regarding fire breaks.


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