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Victoria told to put fuel reduction burn target on back burner

Thursday 21 May 2015

Media release

Victoria's Inspector-General for Emergency Management today recommended the government move away from its aim of burning 5 per cent of public land every year and move instead to a more sophisticated risk-based target.

"Currently our remote areas are being burnt at a rate that is putting many native plants and animals at risk, for little benefit to public safety," the Victorian National Parks Association's fire spokesperson Phil Ingamells said today.

"Land managers have been forced to burn remote areas such as the Mallee in attempts to reach the 5 per cent target. Birds like the rare Mallee Emu Wren and the remarkable Mallee Fowl are now in trouble.

"The Victorian Government should accept this recommendation as a sensible and strategic approach. We can then move on to a risk-based approach for fire management that is more transparent, more efficient and more equitable than the current system.

"A change in policy will give Victorian land managers the opportunity to practice a more effective risk-based approach, allowing increased emphasis on public safety measures such as boosting our capability for rapid attack to extinguish bushfires, and encouraging more bushfire shelters," Mr Ingamells said.

The recommendation was published today in the Inspector-General for Emergency Management report 'Review of Performance Targets for Bushfire Fuel Management on Public Land'.

Most submissions to the report were against a hectare-based burn target, and submissions from academics and experts in environment and land management also raised issues with the Victorian Government's environmental protection practices under the current 5 per cent planned burning program.

The report also raised concerns about levels of smoke caused by current burn levels, and the resulting public health impacts.


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