State governments and fire authorities are failing to act upon reports, royal commissions, inquiries, local knowledge and in particular, the knowledge of Indigenous Australians.
It is interesting that climate change is used as a diversionary tactic but the fact remains: more fuel equals hotter fires and these hot fires are destroying our environment, our homes, our way of life and placing the lives of people at risk.
The following news article appeared in the Guardian on Thursday the 13th of December 2018. This article supports the views as felt by many but not all volunteers, that the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) is continuing to build its empire and is heading down the same path as Victoria.
The VFFA is concerned that the good will of volunteers is being abused as the RFS takes on a plethora of new disciplines and is developing into a stand-alone duplication of Fire and Rescue NSW in many areas. The VFFA is also concerned that the State Mitigation Service staff are becoming the paid firefighters of the RFS into the future.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that hot fires must be avoided. We have to return to cool burning and other land management practices (including selected agricultural clearing and grazing) if we are going to sustain our environment and lifestyle into the future.
A FEDERAL Parliamentary inquiry will be held into Queensland’s bushfires as the State Government bluntly rejects calls from farmers, lobby groups and Prime Minister Scott Morrison for a judicial inquiry.
The Fire and Emergency Services Levy report has been released by the Portfolio Committee No. 4 – Legal Affairs.
The report was tabled on Friday 30 November 2018, it is available on the Parliament NSW website, along with submissions, transcripts of evidence and other documents associated with the inquiry.
The report and its recommendations are now with the government for consideration.
On the 15th of November 2018, the Upper House resolved that Standing Order 233 be varied so as to require that the government provide the response to the committee’s report by the 28th of February 2019.
Whilst we are enjoying our Christmas and New Year break, let’s not forget that there are many people who are less fortunate than ourselves.
We recently celebrated a win for all firefighters (full time, part time and volunteers) with the introduction of compensation for firefighters who contract one of 12 cancers from September 27, 2018.
In a press conference held in Orange (November 2018), former Orange firefighter Trevor Eassie revealed the struggles he has endured after contracting leukaemia at work and not receiving any financial compensation.
Media coverage of the California fires in Australia is sure to unnerve many in our community and prompts the question, why are the fire management agencies not explaining the differences in fire behaviour due to the vegetation involved? Or does the media coverage serve to strengthen the “leave early” policy?
There has been much criticism and mocking of US President Donald Trump for his comment about raking forest floors to remove the material which fuels fires, but the principle behind his comment is sound.
The VFFA says that the real heroes are the men and women on the fireground.
Unfortunately, the NSW Government and the NSW Rural Fire Service is relying upon aviation as our saviour when it comes to wildfire suppression.
The truth is that we cannot afford to continue along this path.
We must improve our land management practices, including cool (cultural or ecological) burning, to reduce the frequency and intensity of fires. This will eventually negate the need for large air tankers.
As is normal these days, the blame game is already being waged in the wake of the most recent 2018 Californian bushfires. On the one hand are the doomsdayers who claim the fires are a result of climate change. At the other end of the spectrum are those blaming “environmental terrorists” for preventing effective pre-fire management, such as forest thinning and fuel-reduction burning.
With reference to the article by Emma Partridge, that appeared in The Daily Telegraph on 5th October 2018, titled Firey’s Charge Extinguished.
The article stated that Police never saw it, no one was hurt, but it still took two years and $74,000 for a Rural Fire Service volunteer to overturn a conviction for driving dangerously during a hazard reduction burn.
VFFA President, Mick Holton talks to Shoalhaven CBF about this terrible situation.
Listen to the interview here.
This situation was so unbelievable that others who were not privy to the full transcript were judging Oliver as being guilty, saying things like “he must be guilty, how else could it have gone on for so long”.
But, this is a case of bullying and harassment at a local level that quickly got out of control. It became a very ugly and costly, fuelled by coverups, deceit and atrocious behaviour by representatives of the Rural Fire Service right to the top.