The Petition of certain citizens of the State of Victoria draws to the attention of the Legislative Council that wildfire events across Victoria over the past 20 years indicate an increase in areas burnt and a vast increase in the intensity of those fires. The impact on the environment is devastating, as illustrated by the 2019–20 bushfire season. Whilst fire is a natural phenomenon in the Australian bush, intense fire over vast areas is not natural. There is a need to use more low intensity fire to reduce fuel levels in the bush to mitigate the impacts of inevitable wildfires, particularly in a drying environment. The current Victorian Government’s policy of “Safer Together” focuses on prevention of loss of life and assets. Whilst this is important, it is clearly not reducing the area and intensity of wildfires, as illustrated by the 2019–20 bushfire season. Likewise, an emphasis on more aircraft and other technology for suppression works fails to address the root cause of the problem, which is increasing fuel loads. Preventative fuel management work needs to be carried out in vast forested areas from where most large fires emanate, in addition to hazard mitigation in areas close to assets. The petitioners therefore request that the Legislative Council call on the Government to revise its fire prevention policy by increasing the area of fuel reduced annually across Victoria through the use of low intensity burning of at least five per cent of the forested area.
By Ms BATH (Eastern Victoria) (738 signatures).
Laid on table.