Attacks over CQ fire risk
EMERGENCY Services Minister Neil Roberts has questioned where his Opposition counterpart is getting his information from after John-Paul Langbroek raised safety concerns about CQ’s bushfire preparedness.
Speaking in Parliament, Mr Langbroek sought assurances from Mr Roberts that he and “his head office bureaucrats” would listen to advice from on-the-ground local rural bush fire brigade volunteers.
“I refer to the latest warnings from the Bureau of Meteorology for bushfire risk in CQ and ask – will the minister and his management team undertake not to ignore the advice of on-the-ground local rural bush fire brigade volunteers this season, which is shaping up as a real worry given the very high fuel loads across the state,” Mr Langbroek said.
“The people of Central Queensland and local brigade members deserve to know if the minister is listening and acting on their advice.
“They certainly don’t need a repeat of the situation two years ago when repeated warnings and requests for commonsense hazard reduction burns were totally ignored by the Bligh Government, leaving the people of Rockhampton, and particularly suburbs adjoining the Berserker forest areas, in serious danger.”
Mr Roberts hit back, saying a lot of proactive activity was under way to ensure Central Queensland was prepared.
“I do not know where the member is getting his information, but I can assure him and indeed the House that rural fire brigades have been well resourced by this government,” Mr Roberts said.
“The fire service is well aware of the risk which is posed to Central Queensland ... and there is a lot of proactive activity under way well before the season to ensure that districts and regions are appropriately prepared.”
He said a number of initiatives had been undertaken to provide information and advice to local communities about the bushfire risk.
The political fallout follows concerns raised by The Morning Bulletin gardening columnist Neil Fisher a couple of weeks ago that residents were being left to fend for themselves.
Yesterday Mr Fisher said since The Bulletin article a lot of work had been done behind the scenes, which had produced “great outcomes”.
However, he said there were concerns about other areas of Central Queensland.
Acting regional manager Tony Hazel said there had been significant work done in the area in preparing for the region’s bushfire season.