LNP 10 Point Bushfire Plan

Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020

The RFBAQ is supportive of the LNP 10 Point Plan and see it as a platform for brigades and landholders to better manage their bushfire risk.

Updated bushfire plan
1. One-stop-shop for streamlined approval process
  • The LNP will establish a single point of contact for all landholders (local, state and federal) to answer and enable bushfire mitigation inquiries, as recommended by the 2018 IGEM report.
    • Key industry stakeholders have for many years shown frustration that there is very little understand or workable knowledge available in relation to land clearing, separation distances and a landholder’s rights to protect their properties from fire.
    • This commitment will ensure that all landholders will have a single point of contact that will provide accurate advice that clarifies landholders’ legal obligations and responsibilities for bushfire mitigation activities. 
2. Deemed approval after 15 business days under a "right to burn" model:
  • Properly made applications will be automatically approved after 15 business days to give landholders and councils certainty. 
  • This will stop permits getting lost in bureaucratic process and restore accountability and bring certainty to landholders and allow government to scale up or down resources to respond to demands for permits.
    • This commitment will bring consistency across the board for fire permits by bringing all fire wardens under the Rural Fire Service permit to burn system. 
    • The commitment acknowledges that given most fire wardens are volunteers it is essential that all are properly resourced to implement the permit to burn system.
3. New KPIs to achieve 98 per cent of hazard reduction activities:
  • There are currently no KPIs holding government departments to account on hazard reduction burns, the creation of firebreaks and community education. Between 2016 and 2019, Only 54% of hazard reduction burns planned have been completed. There’s also been a 30 per cent reduction in completed overall hazard reduction activities. 
4. Indigenous rangers to undertake traditional burning
  • The LNP will trial a traditional burning program run by indigenous rangers. The program won’t replace Rural Fire Brigades’ role in managing and coordinating hazard reduction burns. It will compliment pre-existing efforts by combining traditional and modern burning practices. Blending cultural and modern burning techniques has proven successful and should be expanded. 
5. Establish a Natural Disaster Cabinet Committee to monitor preparations
  • The group will be chaired by the Emergency Services Minister and QFES Commissioner. It will monitor the progress of state departments and landholders conducting hazard reduction activities.
    • This will be enabled by adding a section to the Fire and Emergency Service Act 1990 Act defining the responsibility of the landholder as recommended by the Rural Fire Brigade Association Queensland in their submission to the 2018 IGEM Bushfire Report to allow QFES to enforce standards across government-owned land.
6. Monitored grazing in state forests and some national parks to manage fuel loads:
  • The 2018 IGEM report cited grazing as a measure used in conjunction with a suite of hazard reduction measures. 
  • Grazing will be monitored to protect the environment but also manage fuel loads. 
7. Establish metropolitan-based Rural Fire Volunteer brigades:
  • Just like in Sydney and Melbourne where brigades exist that are manned by volunteer firefighters that can be called on during extreme bushfire events to surge capacity, a similar model should be investigated in Queensland to make use of the large number of SEQ based volunteers. 
8. Restore local control to Rural Fire brigades
  • This will restore recent management structure changes that pushed local fire brigades under the reporting authority of regional urban fire groups. 
  • The Rural Fire Brigade Association Queensland has been very vocal in calling for brigades to be able to be supported in times of emergency through the rural fire service rather than through the urban centric fire system. 
9. Establish a Rural Fire Board 
  • The Rural Fire Board will be made up of respected rural fire brigade members from across Queensland as well as members appointed by the Government. 
  • Future policy direction or matters that affect brigades and volunteers would need to be accepted or made workable by this representative board.
10. Review of aerial firefighting capability
  • A review and stock take of aviation fire assets in Queensland to ensure the state’s capacity will accommodate future increased fire risks. 

The RFBAQ encourage all political parties to move from just making ‘feel good motherhood statements’ about Rural Fire Brigades and brigade members to actual concrete measurable commitments that will result in better equipped and trained brigades and safer communities.

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