Victoria Shadow Minister for Bushfire Response Peter Ryan
John Brumby Slow To Act On Neighbourhood Safer Places
Victor P Taffa
The Brumby Government is lagging well behind New South Wales on the implementation of neighbourhood safer places (NSPs), Shadow Minister for Bushfire Response and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan said today.
“John Brumby promised to identify Victoria’s NSPs before this bushfire season but only 54 safe havens have so far been identified, leaving many bushfire-prone communities without a place of last resort.” Mr. Ryan said.
“In stark contrast New South Wales has implemented 670 NSPs which clearly highlights serious deficiencies in the way the Brumby Government has undertaken this important process.”
“Both states have similar guidelines for identifying and assessing NSPs, therefore Victorian communities have a right to know why our state is so far behind.” Mr. Ryan said.
“The Brumby Government should be leading by example after last year’s bushfires but the fact that just 54 NSPs have been identified clearly shows a serious problem exists.”
Mr. Ryan said the Brumby Government was unreasonably dragging its heels on a key promise to the Bushfires Royal Commission:
“The State to have commenced progressively identifying, establishing and advertising designated community refuges and neighbourhood safer places, giving priority to areas where bushfire risk is identified as high.” (Recommendation 8.7 Bushfires Royal Commission Interim Report)
“The Victorian Government had a duty to identify, establish and advertise designated community refuges but John Brumby quickly handballed responsibility of NSPs to local government which is doing the best job possible given its limited resources.” Mr. Ryan said.
Mr Ryan urged the Brumby Government to investigate the approach New South Wales took to the designation of NSPs, given the state’s successful implementation of safe havens compared to Victoria.
“If there is a better process to establish NSPs then I urge John Brumby to overhaul the current system to ensure Victorians have a safe haven as soon as possible.” Mr Ryan said.
“The State Government must use every measure possible to ensure bushfire-prone communities have a place of last resort to shelter from fires.”