NO TRUST IN DEPI – mistakes reveal need for inquiry

“Huge bushfires in far East Gippsland went largely unchecked for over 2 months in early 2014. Some locals claim that DEPI staff and contractors lit unnecessary backburns, abandoned dangerous backburns at night, knocked down old growth hollow trees inside the National Park boundary as “revenge” against greenies and did so without fire-control rationale. Victorian Fire Commissioner Craig Lapsley has repeated many times in the media that an inquiry into these practices is not warranted. It remains to be seen if he has convinced the local community of his preferred course of action.”

EEG’s coordinator, Jill Redwood, was interviewed by the ABC for a 1:35min news clip (click to watch) on 10th May.

Community reference group Bonang

The huge bushfires in far East Gippsland went largely unchecked in their early stages and grew to become a 170,000 ha disaster and was kept going for almost 2 months from mid-January to early March. It cost tax payers well over $100M (Hazelwood’s fire-fighting cost was in the vicinity of $15M).

Locals from the small communities of Bonang, Goongerah and Tubbut represent a wide range of political opinions yet all were united on the call for an independent inquiry into why these fires were managed so badly in many respects. The combined communities of Goongerah, Tubbut and Bonang documented a sample of the failures. This was presented to Victorian Fire Commissioner Craig Lapsley on 8th May in Bonang.

We are calling for an enquiry into the methods used. Yet he has repeated many times in the media that an inquiry into these bad practices is not warranted. Instead he is offering some sort of ‘community engagement’.

The Bonang and Goongerah meetings were covered in a double page spread by the local Bairnsdale Advertiser.

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