Bushfires | Australian Greens

Bushfires

South-East Australia is incredibly vulnerable to extreme wildfires. We must protect human life and preserve our built and natural assets. A world class research centre will provide expertise about bushfire behaviour.

Principles

  1. Fire is an integral part of many Australian landscapes but varies in its behaviour, intensity and frequency and weather plays a critical role in fire behaviour.

  2. The preservation of human life is paramount.

  3. Ongoing detailed evaluation of and response to the urban-bushland/grassland interface to ensure that public safety is protected as well as protecting the environment.

  4. Many bushfires are started by human activity – accidental, negligent, or malicious.

  5. A well-resourced emergency services sector is an essential asset for a safer, more secure community.

  6. Landscape and fuel management including prescribed burns, must be informed by evidence-based science and The Precautionary Principle.

  7. Ongoing, well-funded education and training programs for the community are essential to be adequately prepared.

Aims

The Australian Greens Victoria will work towards:

Safer Communities

1. Victorians being better prepared and more self-reliant in bushfire risk zones.

2. Communities becoming ‘fire smart’ through incentives, education and training.

3. The development of greater choices for sheltering from bushfires.

4. Ensuring more effective and active partnerships between communities and emergency services to provide improved.

5. Local warning systems.

6. Pre-planning for the ‘less-abled’ / more vulnerable in the community.

7. Methods of creating safer, more defendable zones around houses and townships that are ecologically sympathetic.

8. Encouraging and utilising locally developed best practice for warning and communication systems and fire safety planning.

9. Ensuring ongoing maintenance of places of last resort (neighbourhood safer places and community fire refuges).

10. Providing rebates for installation of residential fire safety systems.

11. Ensuring greater maintenance of all power lines by power distribution companies.

12. Stopping the use of machinery with the potential to ignite fires on Total Fire Ban days including, but not limited to, harvesters and logging machinery.

13. Providing active education and training programs including greater distribution of common-sense literature and practical training for those who live in high risk areas.

14. Inviting the insurance industry to design a rating system for insuring properties in fire risk zones.

Wildlife

15. The Australian Greens Victoria will work towards increasing the survival and rehabilitation of wildlife.

16. Fire agencies and emergency services allowing trained wildlife volunteers to access areas immediately after a fire to rescue, feed or humanely destroy suffering wildlife.

17. Fire agencies assessing the relative size of areas destroyed by “back burns”, their effectiveness and their likely impact on fleeing wildlife.

18. Reassessing the practice of burning out of unburnt “islands” within the fire zone as a standard tool of post fire management.

19. The impact on wildlife to be included in ecological assessments undertaken before any fuel reduction burn.

20. An advanced public understanding of bushfire, to ensure Victoria develops world’s best practice in fire prevention, management and control.

21. An improvement in public understanding of how to use landscape features and fire retardant vegetation for residential fire protection.

22. Bushfire research and fire suppression techniques taking into account the need to halt biodiversity decline.

23. Increasing research funding to advance fire agencies understanding of fire and the environment, and fire risk minimization.

24. Furthering research and review into the impact of climate change on bushfire behaviour.

25. Increasing research and understanding of the many ways people react in times of extreme emergency.

26. Furthering research and review into the impact of fire retardant chemicals used in fire suppression.

27. Reviewing and improving emergency warning systems including fire weather warnings.

28. Encouraging the scientific community to use plain language to bring bushfire information and expertise to the broader community.

29. Improving the scientific accountability of fire management.

Planning

30. The Australian Greens Victoria will work towards planning controls that reduce the level of risk at the residential / bushland interface.

31. Incorporating bushfire risks regulations for the location and maintenance of plantations.

32. Changing government plans for logging state forests adjacent to residential interface to reduce flammable regeneration.

33. Identifying high fire risk zones to limit subdivision in dangerous interface areas.

Fire Emergency Services

34. The provision of well-resourced fire emergency services.

35. The provision of rapid fire-detection systems and equipment.

36. Review of emergency community alert pilot systems to ensure the most effective, broad ranging alert systems are in place.

37. Streamlined fire services administration to allow more immediate and direct response to emergency situations.

38. Providing integrated state fire services.

39. Reinstating / upgrading and staffing of fire spotter towers.

40. Providing a single website for the community to access fire information.

41. Ensuring emergency telephone systems are adequate for the task and are properly staffed to prevent failure in times of fire disaster.

42. Investigating options for financial support of CFA volunteers.