Nationals Member for Euroa Annabelle Cleeland has warned Victorians to prepare for an intense bushfire season after a string of poor decisions from the Labor Government are set to leave the state particularly vulnerable.
Ms Cleeland said the reduction in the number of planned burns across the state, the decision to close the native timber industry, and a lack of Government support for local CFA brigades have all combined to made Victoria susceptible to severe bushfires this season.
“The Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission (VBRC) recommended an annual five per cent burn target, yet we are not seeing anything close to these numbers,” Ms Cleeland said.
“In addition to lack of burning, the government has overseen a reduction of 6,500 operational CFA volunteers since 2015 and is removing the sustainable native timber industry, our first defence in times of fire.
“During last year’s floods, our emergency warning systems were in desperate need of fixing. Sadly, there has still been no movement on this as we approach a dangerous bushfire period.”
Despite the past week seeing heavy rain, both the Australasian Fire Authorities Council (AFAC) and the Bureau of Meteorology have warned that we will have the first dry spring since 2020 – leading to an increased risk of fires earlier in the season.
“This year we are being warned that we face an intense bushfire season and the time for preparation is now,” Ms Cleeland said.
“In recent days we have seen fierce bushfires across Gippsland.
“With the official start of summer still eight weeks away, it’s a timely warning for all of us to refresh our fire survival plans and stay vigilant.”
To best prepare, you can download the VicEmergency App from https://www.emergency.vic.gov.au/ and tune into emergency radio broadcasts if an event is live.
You can find your emergency broadcaster here https://www.emv.vic.gov.au/responsibilities/victorias-warning-system/emergency-broadcasters/official-emergency-broadcasters-in-victoria
You can use resources such as the CFA website www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare and the Red Cross’ Get Prepared App https://www.redcross.org.au/emergencies/prepare/get-prepared-app/ to help you develop your plan in advance.