'Mismanagement and bureaucracy' made bushfires worse: LNP
THE LNP has accused the Queensland Government of making the state more vulnerable after it blocked a parliamentary inquiry examining issues that contributed the devastating bushfires that ripped through the region late last year.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said a parliamentary inquiry was vital to get to the bottom of what contributed to the severity of the bushfires and what could have been done better to get bushfire management policies right.
"We believe mismanagement and bureaucracy worsened those fires," Ms Frecklington said.
"I share the concerns many Queenslanders hold about land management practices to control fuel loads, how our national parks are managed, and what landholders want to do to protect their property and livestock."
LNP Shadow Minister for Fire, Emergency Services and Volunteers Lachlan Millar said landholders and communities in regional Queensland deserved to be heard.
"The parliamentary inquiry is about getting bushfire prevention and management right to save lives and save communities," Mr Millar said.
"Ineffective bushfire management in our national parks and a dramatic drop in the number of burns by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services are key concerns."
A Queensland Government spokesperson said a wide-ranging independent review is already underway through the Inspector-General Emergency Management (IGEM).
"IGEM was established by the Newman government and Deb Frecklington and Tim Mander both voted for the bill at the time," the spokesperson said.
"Submissions are being taken from all interested parties, including members of the public."
The spokesperson also said the Queensland Government had commented many times on the issue of firebreaks and warned about the dangers of misinformation.
"There have been no changes to rules about firebreaks," the spokesperson said.
"Our vegetation management legislation did not change the way farmers and property owners can clear firebreaks to protect their homes and properties.
"They can still clear a firebreak up to 20 metres wide, or 1.5 times the height of the tallest tree without any permit."
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said the scope of the IGEM review was broad enough to address the concerns raised by the Opposition.
She pointed to the review's terms of reference which said it would assess the effectiveness of preparedness activity and response, identify lessons that will inform continuous improvement in fire management and consider the views of community members via survey and submissions.