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The VFFA is getting behind rural people for the NSW State Election – 28 March 2015.

There is a direct connection between the RFS at grass roots level and rural NSW and that is why we are helping to promote the standupforfarmers.com.au web site.

All NSW voters are being encouraged to take a stand for rural NSW. We need to send a clear message to all politicians that we want real and lasting change for country New South Wales.

We urge you to join the VFFA and stand up for farmers – don’t let country New South Wales be ignored this election.

What is StandUpForFarmers?

StandUpForFarmers aims to shine the spotlight on the issues impacting rural and regional communities in the lead-up to the 28 March 2015 NSW state election.

The campaign draws on local events, grass-roots activism, digital channels, social media and word of mouth to mobilise famers and those in rural and regional NSW to ‘Stand Up, Shout Out and Be Heard’.

The more people who lend their voice, rate their local member and share their stories online, the more influence we have.

Our Campaign. Our Cause

Country NSW is an important contributor to our state and way of life. Yet, too often we’re taken for granted. Our economic interests, local infrastructure and community needs all deserve meaningful focus, investment or funding.

It’s time to take action and to shine the spotlight on farming communities like never before. We need to send a message to all politicians – sitting members and candidates – that we want real and lasting change for country New South Wales.

This campaign is about:

  • standing up for farmers
  • standing up for rural business
  • standing up for rural communities.

What are we fighting for?

We’ve identified six key issues that unite country NSW:

  • better country rail and roads
  • action on drought
  • healthy rural communities
  • fairer farmgate returns
  • protecting our land and water
  • investment in farm innovation.

Who’s behind the campaign?

StandupforFarmers is powered by NSW Farmers, a membership based organisation that advocates on behalf of farmers in NSW and the ACT. Its purpose is to ensure that rural and regional NSW’s voice is heard in the 2015 election.

NSW Farmers is not aligned to any candidate or any political party. NSW Farmers does not necessarily endorse the views held by contributors or comment providers. Material is provided for your information to assist you in forming your opinion. The information contained in this website is for general information only.

What do we want people to do?

  • Visit the website standupforfarmers.com.au
  • Rate their local politician and share with friends and family
  • Attend one of eight ‘Meet the Candidate’ Town Hall events during February and March.
  • Post their own ‘Stand Up’ on our website and Facebook Page
  • Tweet #standup4farmers

Related Posts

  • A letter was sent to the new Minister for Emergency Services, The Hon. David Elliott, MP on the 6th April, 2015. It was prepared by the VFFA Vice President, Brian Williams and it provided the Minister with an overview of…

  • NSW Farmers have published a series of media releases and we are very keen to help them distribute their message far and wide.

  • The VFFA is very pleased to see that the NSW State Government has created separate Police and Emergency Services portfolios and we would like to congratulate the two Ministers as they embark upon the management of their respective roles.

One thought on “Stand up for Farmers

  • March 8, 2015 at 9:36 am
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    The New South Wales Government has a blind spot to criminal and civil liability for fatally flawed standard operating bushfire procedures. Apparently, Section 128 of the Rural Fires Act 1997 (NSW) authorises the recklessness driving catastrophic fires. I have a PhD in bushfire management that has never been disproven and a conclusively large body of evidence to prove that the current firestorm crisis is easily and cheaply preventable[i]. I have also uncovered a paper trail of power bases that bushfire services grow nationally with each bad fire – even extending to bushfire service control of bushfire research. The paper trail of data demonstrates that fatally flawed operating procedures are a $billion bushfire service industry.

    The tragic effects? Coonabarabran’s 14km tall firestorm was one of NSW’s worst for 2013 – a mountainous pyrocumulonimbus. RFS hierarchy felt no compunction to listen to pleas from Coonabarabran locals to use well-evidenced and therefore well proven strategies to save homes and property. This ruined livelihoods; injured firefighters who should not have been exposed to fires allowed to become too uncontrollably hot to fight; killed vast swathes of endangered, threatened and vulnerable species; polluted air and water, and, caused a flash food that did about as much damage as the fires. Although the flood was easily foreseeable, as with the fire, locals were caught unprepared, and so suffered more preventable damage.

    As well as destroying 95% of Warrumbungle National Park and 56 homes and ruining lives, countless endangered, threatened and vulnerable species suffered one of the most agonising deaths possible.

    There was an outcry as the fatally flawed emergency response followed a well established pattern of allowing the fire to burn until it grew close to uncontrollable. Then the RFS declared a Section 44, meaning a blank cheque arrangement to pay firefighting costs, so money did not come out of the RFS budget.

    Under s.44s, NSW and Federal Governments pay to jet and helicopter firefighters in from outside the affected region – put them up in motels and feed them at restaurants and with chef cooked meals from caterers. There is an atmosphere of great abundance and media coverage of their heroism while local lives are ruined and their native wildlife cremated.

    The RFS kept key local volunteer firefighters in the dark about the fire in catastrophically dense, tinder dry bush at the Wambelong campground on Saturday January 12. Once it was out of control and too hot to fight effectively, aircraft dropped incendiary devices to backburn. This worsened the already dangerous fire. It is well known that backburning is only effective when fires are low to moderate intensity.

    It has now become standard procedure to allow fires to burn until they approach uncontrollable levels (termed euphemistically ‘containment’), declare a s.44 and then drop incendiary devices and put in drip torch lines that worsen the fires.

    Although its hierarchy ran the fire operations, the RFS hierarchy claims it had no knowledge of backburning when it proved a miscalculation. National park and RFS staff remorselessly and adamantly claim their decisions and actions were correct. And indeed their staff are trained to make the fatally flawed actions and decisions that drove the maelstrom.

    Once the fires were too intense to control, the media was notified to cover the futile aerial water bombing effort that cost at least $20million. Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons gave press conferences.

    The Environment Protection Authority and the Office of Environment and Heritage are not prosecuting the NPWS or the RFS for their role in the destruction of habitat and wildlife, or, water and air pollution. The EPA and OEH impose fines of up to $2.2 million and gaol if rural people try to protect themselves from disasters such as this with unauthorised cool burns and backburns. Strangely, the RFS threatened Coonabarabran brigades with just such action if two backburns done without authority had gone wrong. The unauthorised backburns saved lives and livelihoods. I have also heard four reports of the RFS targeting volunteer firefighters who went public about the fatally flawed miscalculations.

    Nor apparently, are the police prosecuting the RFS or NPWS for reckless disregard for human life, grievous bodily harm or property damage under sections on recklessness in the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

    S.128 of the Rural Fires Act 1997 (NSW) purportedly removes NSW Government liability for an act or an omission done in the vague and undefined term “good faith”. Under s.128 anything a trier of justice claims is in “good faith” is liability free. Are fires like this what NSW Parliament meant to achieve when it passed the Rural Fires Act? What happened to ancient legal principles protecting citizens under the Magna Carta?

    The current firestorm trend also raises questions of compliance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. This Act gives the Commonwealth the power to protect threatened species, ecological communities and sites with national heritage value.
    The preventable crisis continues to grow in six states and the ACT, interfering with citizens’ rights and privileges. This raises questions under the Australian Constitution:

    COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA CONSTITUTION ACT – SECT 119
    Protection of States from invasion and violence
    The Commonwealth shall protect every State against invasion and, on the application of the Executive Government of the State, against domestic violence.

    It is almost impossible to get the RFS to achieve adequate hazard reduction with cool burns – a technique that Aborigines taught early settlers that is cheap and easy if done according to methods developed over the millennia. Current RFS techniques for hazard reduction are to burn even during total fire bans with cumbersome methods that make it mathematically impossible to adequately protect the state.

    Last bushfire season with fuel loads at record highs and vast tracts of hot burnt bush left in drought, about 0.06% of bushfire prone land was hazard reduced accompanied with much publicity from the RFS. This is almost zero protection.

    To read more of the power base causing mass destruction please click:

    https://sites.google.com/site/stopbushfires/bushire-services-power-bases

    In conclusion, the fact that the RFS and NPWS have not been prosecuted shows a blind spot to breaches of NSW and Commonwealth legislation. The RFS and NPWS defiantly claim they have done no wrong and continue to endanger the state.

    Yours sincerely

    Christine Finlay (PhD, Bushfire Management, UNSW; BA Hons, Disaster Management, JCUNQ; BA UNSW)

    https://sites.google.com/site/stopbushfires/

    mob 0416677492 02 49157102

    [i] See McArthy, GJ; Tolhurst, KG & Chatto, K (1999) Overall Hazard Guide 3rd edn Natural Resources and Environment page iii; Sullivan, Andrew (2008) Grassfires fuel, weather and fire behaviour 2nd edn pages 2-4, 17-21 & 29; Gould, JS, McCaw, WL, Cheney, NP, Ellis, PF & Matthews, S (2007) Field Guide Fuel Assessment and Fire Behaviour Prediction in Dry Eucalypt Forest Australia: Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Department of Environment & Conservation, Western Australia;CSIRO (2003) submission to A Nation Charred: Inquiry into the Recent Australian Bushfires Canberra: Parliament of Australia & Gould, JS; McCaw, Wl; Cheney, N, Peter; Ellis, PF; Knight, IK & Sullivan, Andrew, L (2008) Project Vesta Fire in Dry Forest Fuel Structure Fuel Dynamics and Fire Behaviour CSIRO Publishing Retrieved January 31 2014 fromhttp://www.publish.csiro.au/pid/5993.htm.

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