Regional Victoria At Risk As Baillieu Abandons Bushfire Promises

Jacinta Allan | 

The Baillieu-Ryan Government, just weeks from the fire season, has failed to deliver key election promises aimed at reducing the bushfire risk in regional Victoria.

Visiting Murrindindi Shire Council today, Shadow Minister for Bushfire Response Jacinta Allan said authorities were already concerned about the potential bushfire threat, with temperatures reaching the mid-to-high 20s this week.

“This week’s warmer weather has reinforced that fires could be a major risk this summer and yet the Baillieu-Ryan Government dithers on bushfire prevention measures,” Ms Allan said.

“Regional communities such as Murrindindi, which are still recovering from the Black Saturday fires, are concerned.

“Before the election, Mr Baillieu committed to creating an Arson Prevention Taskforce and introducing a range of new bushfire safety measures as a “priority”, but after 10 months the Government has failed to deliver.

“Mr Baillieu has failed to introduce monitoring and restrictions on arsonists, to increase patrols and to identify bushfire areas vulnerable to attack.

“It’s now evident that the dithering Baillieu-Ryan Government doesn’t have an action plan to protect bushfire-prone communities.”

Ms  Allan  said  a  report  earlier this year outlined concerns the Government was failing to deliver in several key areas, including shelter options, township protection plans, and evacuation and arrangements for vulnerable people.

The Government is also behind schedule on upgrading divisional command centres and reviewing community warning sirens.

“The Bushfire Royal Commission Implementation Monitor Progress Report showed that Mr Baillieu and Mr Ryan are backing away from promises to implement all 67 recommendations from the Bushfire Royal Commission,” Ms Allan said.

“In Opposition, Mr Baillieu and Mr Ryan vowed to implement each and every Bushfire Royal Commission recommendation, but both appear to have placed these recommendations in the ‘too hard’ basket.

“The Baillieu-Ryan Government needs to act now to ensure Victorians living in bushfire-prone areas have the protection they need.”

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