I’m writing to ensure as many people as possible can know about the private development threat that now bears upon our National Parks in Queensland, and have the chance to make their views on it known before it occurs, rather than later when nothing can be done to reverse an unacceptable situation.
#FFEB46">Can you *please* read this short article and sign an online petition to help find a Thai Karen human rights activist who has "disappeared" recently, just before he was to give eyewitness testimony in a trial related to the abuses of power alledgedly committed by park officials, including the murder of another activist in September 2011.
There have been frequent human rights abuses against indigenous peoples in Thailand, including forced relocation, denial of basic human rights, burning of villages and rice barns, extrajudicial killings of local leaders and expropriation of lands and assets during the last half century or so, and particularly since the early 1960s when Thailand initiated its national park system. Since 1993, these abuses have been repeatedly confirmed and reported by human rights activists.
At the beginning of 2011, more than 20 families who had been documented residents for over 60 years in Bangkloy Bon Village, inside Kaengkrachan National Park (established on 12 June 1981 and about 200 km southwest of Bangkok), saw their houses being burned and destroyed by park officials.
On the 10th of September, 2011, unidentified gunmen shot and killed Tatkamol Ob-om, a Thai activist who had assisted Porlajee Rakchongcharoen (known as “Billy”) and other Karen villagers in reporting on alleged abuses, violence, illegal logging and elephant poaching committed by park officials. In January 2012, the Phetchaburi Provincial Court brought a case against Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn, head of the Kaengkrachan National Park Office, charging him with masterminding Mr. Tatkamol’s murder.
Mr. Chaiwat has not been suspended from duty as required under disciplinary regulations regarding officials under criminal investigation. Chaiwat's continued presence at the national park has been a cause of fear among local activists and villagers, particularly those involved in lawsuits against him.
On the 17 April 2014, Billy Porlajee, an indigenous Karen leader and prominent human rights activist, was detained by park officials in Kaengkrachan National Park. Park officials claim that Mr Porlajee was released that same day, yet his whereabouts are unknown. Mr Porlajee was scheduled to give eyewitness testimony on 30 April (2014) in a trial related to abuses of power allegedly committed by park officials, but to date he is still missing.
The detention of Porlajee Rakchongcharoen, his alleged release and subsequent disappearance have raised serious fears for his safety. Please will you take a moment to click the link below and sign the online petition. By signing this petition you are assisting in our efforts to find Mr Porlajee, fighting to ensure justice in current lawsuits and supporting Karen communities in their struggle for a dignified life.
Here is the link. Unfortunately, it seems that the link may not work from everywhere in the world. If you experience trouble connecting to this page, will you please leave a comment below stating your location and a giving short message of support for this petition. Thank you.
Please note that the situation is now further confused by the removal from power of the Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra by the Thai Constitutional Court *yesterday*, 7 May 2014. Inside Thailand, this case is now likely to be drowned out by the cacophony of ongoing political chaos that continues to rule in that country. It is therefore crucial that the Thai bureaucracy and national park officialdom are not allowed to hide this serious criminality behind the smokescreen of political confusion and get a strong sense of being under the scrutiny of international public opinion. Please help to reach at least the current goal of 10,000 signatures by next week by re-posting this article far and wide, wherever appropriate. Thank you!
Please see the translator’s introduction (Land Use and Sustainability in the Highlands of Northern Thailand) to Buhpau’s The Karen System of Forest Field Rotation, available in the “Karen Rotational Farming” folder at https://onedrive.live.com/?cid=0a586522c3d55a14
Please also see one view of the struggle for rights of the Karen people of northern Thailand documented in novel form in Francis Ferguson’s Look Down, see the women weep, available in paper and ebook from Lulu.com. Please search for “Francis Ferguson” from the Lulu.com page or just click #10;">this link.
If you have questions about this case or about Thai Karen rights in general, or comments on the petition and so on, please leave a comment below and we will try to answer your questions and comments as soon as possible. This page will be updated if there is any news to be reported. Thank you.
Park Rangers in NSW Public Service Association will take industrial action to show their lack of confidence in NSW Premier's backroom deal with shooters party to give them hunting access in our National Parks. This seems the right thing to do. The current government attitude to New South Wales's beautiful parks and indigenous animals seems unAustralian and somehow blasphemous, for these are our icons and Mother Nature's home. This foreshadowed desecration of our national parks is linked to deals to privatise NSW electricity. See also "Barry O'Farrell, NSW electricity privatisation and shooting in National Parks Australia"
Reluctant industrial action to protect wildlife and the public from unwise government policy
The NSW Public Service Association, which represents park rangers, has directed its members not to assist with any activity involved with establishing recreational hunting in national parks in NSW.
Members will also be asked to withhold information and their expert advice from Minister for the Environment Robyn Parker and other members of the NSW Coalition Government.
General Secretary John Cahill said the good work and safety of NSW National Parks staff would be placed at risk by the State Government’s backroom deal for hunting in parks
Serious risk to public safety
“Recreational shooting of pest animals in National Parks is an unproven, untested, expensive and unsafe activity, Mr Cahill said today.
“Opening the gate for recreational hunting in 79 national parks and other conservation areas in NSW poses a serious risk to the safety of park rangers, visitors, wildlife and the environment.
“Our park rangers should not have to work in fear for their own safety. Our members have expressed serious concerns about the danger to themselves and the community when shooting is allowed in bushland popular with walkers and picnickers.
Vested interests compromise Scientific programs, valuable data at risk
“Our members have been working very hard to control and manage feral animals in parks. Recreational shooting will compromise the professional and scientifically proven feral animal control programs run by national parks staff, placing native plants and animals at risk.
“This move is another shot across the bow of our national parks, with the Shooters and other vested interest groups clamouring for greater access at the expense of the environment and the people who look after them.
“Industrial action like this is not a decision we take lightly but we simply cannot let the State Government’s compromise of our National Parks to go ahead,” Mr Cahill said.
For decades now state governments have been withdrawing support from Australia's national and regional parks. These rangers' numbers have been whittled down. They have been forced to submit to arcane bean-counting exercises and to focus on attracting tourists rather than protecting and studying the wildlife and vegetation in these wild spaces. They risk their livelihoods by expressing these educated views in a system that simply does not play fair with rank and file workers, especially when they are isolated from each other. Natural science has so much to enrich our society but it is a victim of corrupt political processes in our society where land-use is increasingly dominated by a growth lobby that knows the price of everything but the value of nothing, and has no respect for democracy.
Contact: John Cahill 0419 413 577 / Jane Garcia 0434 489 533
Electricity privatisation continues to cause bizarre consequences as yet another State Premier will apparently do anything to push it through, despite almost total lack of electoral support. See our history of attempts to privatise electricity in NSW. It reads like a war on democracy. Now that war is against the State's wildlife. During his first week in government, the NSW Premier, Barry O`Farrell, made a strong promise to environment groups and the people of NSW that he would not allow shooting in National Parks. Now he has done a deal with the Shooters and Fishers Party so that they will support his electricity privatisation bill. Shame on Barry, Shame on the Shooters and Fishers who many see as just another front for the Libs in NSW, posing as another party.
Barry O'Farrell gunning down democracy
The Premier of NSW has today broken a pre-election promise to keep recreational shooting out of our National Parks. He has announced that the government will be opening up 34 National Parks, 31 Nature Reserves and 14 State Conservation Areas across the state to recreational hunters.
During his first week in government, the Premier made a strong promise to environment groups and the people of NSW that he would not allow shooting in National Parks. Now he has done a deal with the Shooters and Fishers Party so that they will support his electricity privatisation bill.
National Parks are for the protection of nature and for the enjoyment of the NSW public, not for blood sport. This decision by the government shows complete disregard for public safety and for the purpose of our National Park system.
The government is ‘greenwashing’ this deal as a way of managing feral animals, but control of feral animals is best achieved by professionals, not by sporting hunters.
If you are as horrified about this as we are, please take a few quick actions:
3) If you have time, please write a letter to editor (either of your local paper or one of the State-wide papers), and/or make a call to talkback radio about this issue.
4) Comment below this article.
The National Parks Association of New South Wales (NPA) has a number of key concerns about this decision:
1) The purpose of National Parks is to protect the environment and allow the quiet enjoyment of nature, not for blood sports.
2) This decision poses a huge risk to the safety of the public, who just want to bushwalk, have a picnic or enjoy nature with their families.
3) Control of feral animals should be left to the professionals. Recreational hunting is not an efficient or cost-effective tool for feral animal control in National Parks, and may have serious impacts on our native wildlife.
4) This is a major betrayal of the public by the Premier, who has consistently promised that there will be no recreational hunting in National Parks. It is completely unacceptable for our protected areas to be used as a pawn in a political trade-off.
See below for a list of parks that the government proposes to open up for shooting.
The website of the Invasive Species Council has more information about why so called 'conservation hunting' by amateur hunters is not an effective means of controlling feral animals.
"The NSW and Victorian governments have been funding recreational hunting and opening access to public lands on the basis that hunters can control feral animals.
But evidence (including the failure of numerous bounties) shows that, at best, hunters can supplement more effective methods of feral animal control or provide control in small, accessible areas.
Funding recreational hunting as a primary method of control is a waste of taxpayers’ money. There is also the risk that opening up public lands to hunting creates an incentive for maverick hunters to shift feral animals into new areas – as has occurred particularly with pigs and deer.
The Invasive Species Council has been working with other environment groups to oppose the NSW Shooters Party legislation to expand hunting into national parks, allow private hunting reserves, and permit the release of exotic birds rated as a serious or extreme pest threat by Australian governments."
Affected National Parks, Nature Reserves and State Conservation Areas
The government is proposing to immediately consider opening the following National Parks, Nature Reserves and State Conservation Areas up for shooting.
Abercrombie River National Park
Turon National Park
Coolah Tops National Park
Warrumbungle National Park
Goulburn River National Park
New England Tablelands
Bald Rock National Park
Nowendoc National Park
Basket Swamp National Park
Piliga East National Park
Boonoo National Park
Piliga West National Park
Gibraltar Range National Park
Oxley Wild Rivers National Park
South Coast and Highlands
Benambra National Park
Tallaganda National Park
Brindabella National Park
Woomargama National Park
Kosciuszko National Park (excluding ski fields)
Morton National Park
Wadbilliga National Park
South East Forests National Park
Goonoo National Park
Paroo-Darling National Park
Gundabooka National Park
Yanga National Park
Mallee Cliffs National Park
Murray Valley National Park
Yabbra National Park
Nightcap National Park
Richmond Range National Park
Hunter/Mid North Coast
Dorrigo National Park
Watagans National Park
Myall Lakes National Park
Barrington Tops National Park
Macquarie Marshes Nature Reserve
Pilliga Nature Reserve
New England Tablelands
Gibraltar Nature Reserve
Big Bush Nature Reserve
Lake Urana Nature Reserve
Boginderra Hills Nature Reserve
Langtree Nature Reserve
Buddigower Nature Reserve
Ledknapper Nature Reserve
Cocopara Nature Reserve
Loughnan Nature Reserve
Coolbadggie Nature Reserve
Narrandera Nature Reserve
Goonawarra Nature Reserve
Nearie Lake Nature Reserve
Gubbata Nature Reserve
Nocoleche Nature Reserve
Ingalba Nature Reserve
Nombinnie Nature Reserve
Jerilderie Nature Reserve
Piliga Nature Reserve
Kajuligah Nature Reserve
Pucawan Nature Reserve
Kemendok Nature Reserve
Pulletop Nature Reserve
Round Hill Nature Reserve
Quanda Nature Reserve
Tarawi Nature Reserve
Yanga Nature Reserve
The Charcoal Tank Nature Reserve
Yathong Nature Reserve
State Conservation Areas
Mullion Range SCA
Mount Canobolas SCA
Hunter/ Mid North Coast
Barrington Tops SCA
New England Tablelands
Watsons Creek SCA
Mount Hyland SCA
Source: Kirstin Proft
Biodiversity Conservation Officer
National Parks Association of NSW
PO Box 337 | Newtown 2042 | New South Wales
T 02 9299 0000 |
W http://www.npansw.org.au | E [email protected] Watch us on youtub!
The World League for the Protection of Animals has expressed alarm at a proposed new New South Wales law that would permit children as young as 12, unaccompanied, to pursue and kill with weapons animals declared feral in National Parks.
"New laws proposed in New South Wales are set to allow children as young as 12, armed with bows and arrows, dogs, and knives, to hunt feral animals without adult supervision. The new guidelines have been drawn up by the NSW Game Council, the State Government body which regulates hunting. Children are already allowed to hunt feral animals, but they cannot do it alone." Adam Harvey, "12-year-olds to be allowed to hunt alone."
Dear Minister Hodgkinson,
We urge you to put your support behind our defenceless animals who have no voice, no guns and no way of defending themselves, whilst simultaneously protecting the citizens of NSW and disallowing any legislation that would permit 12 year olds to attack animals. The Game Feral Animal Control Regulations (2004) are to expire on 1st September , which is why we are relying on your government to protect the broader community and not the Shooters Party. Already we have the Game Council that is subsidised by the tax payer and represents only the interests of The Shooters Party and The Firearms Control Committee that is represented almost entirely by the pro gun lobby. There is no government committee that is established to represents the interests of the environment or the animals that depend on these environments for their future survival.
We strongly oppose any measures to permit minors to hunt with knives, bows and arrows and pig dogs for these reasons:
* Such practises are inhumane and unacceptable to any 'civilised' society.
* These children will not be supervised by rangers, adults or any authority as far as we are aware. Why would your government want to endorse such unpoliced activities ?
* Children will not be required to carry written permission with them and further be given 48 hrs to produce written 'permission'. This is unbelievable and something which the citizens of this state would not accept, if they knew about it.
* The use of bows and arrows, bowie knives and pig dogs in the practice of hunting any animals whether they be introduced or not, is simply brutal and inhumane. The cruelty inflicted upon these helpless animals can not be condoned by any society arguing it is in fact humane and progressive.
* What will happen to all those animals wounded and injured? Unnecessary pain and suffering witnessed in the practice of blood 'sports' should be eliminated and prohibited.
* To encourage and allow children to act in such a cruel and irresponsible way is both dangerous to the voiceless animals and to the children involved.
* Such a proposal is a concession to the Shooters and Fishers Party that have only their own interests at heart.
* An extra 142 State Forests were 'opened' to the Shooters Party for some 10 years which was done at the expense of the rest of the NSW community. These state forests were once prohibited to shooters, but now native fauna in these once relatively quite and safe places have no place to hide. Our native fauna can not afford to lose more valuable yet shrinking habitat.
We implore you to prohibit such reckless and dangerous behaviours and not to allow these practices to become law. Your government has this opportunity to establish it's commitment and concern to the broader community by protecting us all from the Shooters Party.
World League for the Protection of Animals
PO Box 211 Gladesville 2111
The conflict between koalas and humans is due to the fact that koalas prefer forests growing in better soils, and most of these forests have been chopped down for agriculture and housing.
The Australian Koala Foundation estimates that there a possibly as few as 43,000 koalas remaining in Australia. Koalas are a “vulnerable species” in NSW.
Former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally's $16 million support for koalas was a token pre-election gesture considering the massive threats to koalas. They need a particular species of eucalypt trees, which are being rapidly cleared in NSW.
The conflict with humans is due to the fact that koalas prefer forests growing in better soils, and most of these forests have been chopped down for agriculture and housing. This has left many koalas living in small, isolated patches of poor quality forest. It means that young koalas may have to cross open spaces, including roads and attacked by dogs. They have even been spotted scratching at wooden human structures such as fences and poles, with dogs barking at them from below!
Lack of suitable food and the stresses of fragmented habitats makes them more susceptible to disease.
The Australian Koala Foundation estimates that there a possibly as few as 43,000 koalas remaining in Australia. Koalas are a “vulnerable species” in NSW.
Keneally's government recently reported that that by the year 2036, NSW will have a “projected” population from 7.2 million now to 9.1 million people.
MP, Kristina Keneally failed to give support for the Bill to have pets banned for sale in pet shops and mandatory desexing. Her respose was a big fat “no”, hidden amongst diversions about the cost of desexing mice and rats.
Commercial use of National Parks NSW
The NSW Keneally Government’s Tourism Bill introduced specific tourist development provisions into the National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1974, including a long shopping list of facilities to allow for such things as fast food joints, supermarkets, golf courses, rifle ranges, conference centres and resorts of all sorts.
It's about prostituting our National Parks. Instead of Parks and Wildlife being the custodian of wildlife and wilderness, it will be procuring visitation to protected areas that exploits and harms fragile ecology for commercial gain.
These changes are dressed up by the Government as a strengthening of the National Parks Act when the opposite is true. Advice from senior legal counsel confirms that the changes will undermine the multiple layers of protection that have until now kept national parks free from development.
The areas account for 30 per cent of New South Wales’ national parks and would be protected by strict guidelines including visitor number caps according to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).
We humans can continue fueling the loss of other indigenous species, consume natural resources and destroy habitats for our own growth, or we can take the responsible and moral decision to share our land equitably. The survival of native species needs more than token gestures.
Strezlecki Koalas- devestation in Gippsland
The Strzelecki State Forest is home to mammals such as echidnas, platypus, koalas, wombats, two species of antechinus, two species of bandicoot, the black wallaby a variety of gliders and possums (including sugar glider, greater glider and yellow bellied glider), several native rats (including the rare broad-toothed rat) and bats, including the bent wing bat, potoroos and the rare and endangered tiger quoll, (the largest carnivorous marsupial on the Australian mainland), and the Southern rat kangaroo, common in Tasmania, but very rare on the mainland. The dingo, once common, has disappeared from the region.
The Strzeleckis have the only relic population of koala left in Victoria and South Australia. All other populations are genetically inbred.
Friends of Gippsland Bush spokesperson Suzie Zent said that the Victorian koala was almost hunted to extinction in the early 1900s. By the 1930s the koala in mainland Victoria was confined to a few remnant areas in South Gippsland and Mornington Peninsula.
In 1998, Hancock purchased perpetual logging rights to a large portion of Victoria, including the Strzelecki Ranges. It was and still is Australia's largest ever forest sale – 170,000 hectares.
In 2001, Hancock signed hardwood contracts to supply Maryvale until the year 2027.
The best of the remaining Strzelecki habitat is being logged at a rate of 700 hectares per year by Hancock Victorian Plantations (HVP), after they gained perpetual logging rights in 1998 via the sale of the Victorian Plantations Corporation by the Kennett Government, after logging 7000 hectares of koala habitat over the past decade,
As the Strzeleckis were replanted with indigenous trees between 1950 and 1980 (after massive clearing between 1880 & 1930) the Koalas in many instances moved back into planted areas.
October 2006 a $7 million deal meant protection for several key rainforest catchments, with Hancock handing over logging rights in contentious areas such as College Creek.
As part of this latest 'protection' deal, 1,500 ha of Mountain Ash forest inside the 8,000 ha of Cores and Links were to be clear felled, mainly for woodchips, over the next 20 years. Only after the logging companies have pocketed their profits, the 8,000 ha will then be fully managed as a reserve.
Any shortfall not reached by logging selected areas within the Cores and Links would then be met by logging native forest.
The Victorian government then signed a $5.5 million deal to buy back native forest in Gippsland's Strzelecki Ranges. The landmark deal was to save more than 20,000 hectares of native forest from logging in the state's south-east.
However, the 2006 historic Heads of Agreement (HoA) was overturned by current Conservation Minister Gavin Jennings and HVP CEO Linda Sewell a new agreement in August 2008 without community involvement. This new agreement will allow for clearfelling of ~350ha of Mountain Ash inside College Creek and another 1150ha elsewhere within the Cores and Links Reserve.
The January/February 2009 Delburn and Churchill fires burnt out approximately 50% of the best remaining koala habitat in the Strzelecki Ranges. Thousands of koalas most likely perished in the fires. Sam the koala become a symbol of those lost souls.
Koalas need protection
When tourists arrive in Australia, the first thing they want to see is a koala. It is far more inspiring to see them in the bush rather than a zoo. HVP have strategies to develop habitat and corridors on their property but they are a business and their strategies will only be followed if there is a profit in it. The safety of the koalas relies entirely on the contractor out felling the trees at the time. They are not going to stop and check every tree before it is felled. Spotting koalas is very difficult and contractors just don't have the time.
Scientists say inbreeding is leading to higher rates of disease in many koala populations and is threatening the species' survival. But a recent study has found that koalas in the Strezlecki Ranges have maintained their genetic diversity.
Deborah Tabart from the Australian Koala Foundation says it vital that strong, healthy populations are preserved.
Strzelecki Ranges is suffering from devastating logging regimes under Hancocks management, with problems of habitat for koalas and other issues. Also remember the devastating effects of the fires in Victoria. State and federal politics as well as corporations are lacking transparency over such important matters.
Save the Redlands.. Eat a koala?
Car stickers suggesting people should eat koalas have outraged environmental groups, the RSPCA and politicians in Brisbane's east.
State MP for Cleveland Mark Robinson condemned the stickers, but says that we need to find better ways for koalas and humans to coexist in the Redlands without stopping development and growth. There's little chance the koalas can coexist while competing for the same territory, and so many obstacles. Local businesses were more interested in protecting their own interests than koalas.
Redland mayor Melva Hobson said the stickers were reprehensible and in extremely bad taste. Even though most of the residents treasured the koalas and wanted them protected, he rejected the inference that the council has got the balance between development and the environment wrong. Koalas don't have political or financial powers as business lobby groups, their they are unlikely to swing any “balance” in their favour.
Humans are in plague proportions, with SE Qld being a good example. Koalas are threatened there. Koalas can't adapt to the power of human land transformation, introduced enemies and chain-saws!
It's an evolutionary trait for species to consume and grow and dominate, but humans do it better than others. The decline of koalas has nothing to do with inability to adapt, or “survival of the fittest”. Species' decline has everything to do with massive population increases in Australia, and it is not “natural” but augmented by immigration. There is no way koalas can evolve and adapt fast enough to overcome roads, logging, land clearing, invasive species and pets. The only way koalas could “win” is if they had machine guns to protect them!
Cattle were removed from the Alpine National Park in 2005 by the Bracks Government after a thorough investigation by the Alpine Grazing Parliamentary Taskforce. Cattle continued to graze in state forest next to the park.
The high country area of south-east Australia which takes in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory form the unique landscape of the Australian Alps.
Most of the Australian Alps is set aside as national parks but in addition to prescribed burns, a major issue for these alpine and sub-alpine regions has been the grazing of cattle and sheep.
Victorian Coalition announced in a #10;http://vic.liberal.org.au/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=/bElf7kQ56M=&tabid=189">media release that it would return cattle grazing to Victoria's alpine national parks as a strategic tool to reduce fire risk on crown land.
According to the Australian Government website, National parks are protected because they have unspoilt landscapes and a diverse number of native plants and animals. This means that commercial activities such as farming are prohibited, and human activity is strictly monitored.
“Research” alpine grazing
Cattle have been introduced to six "research" sites in the Alpine National Park. The Mountain Cattlemen's Association says it is confident the Coalition would honour its commitment to reintroduce cattle grazing in the Alpine National Park.
Following the 2002–03 fires which devastated this area of south-east Australia, the Federal Government allocated extra funding for research into managing fire in high altitude terrain.
For some, there is a strong belief that "alpine grazing reduces blazing" : that grazing animals reduce the risk of fire by eating plant material that might otherwise go up in flames.
There is more to conservation than fire prevention. Research conducted by CSIRO scientists shows that cattle generally prefer the open grassy areas for grazing, rather than the heathlands that pose the bigger fire risk.
Fire in alpine environments has been infrequent, with many decades between fires. This is because the combinations of events that are needed for alpine country to burn – an ignition source, prolonged drought, and severe fire weather – occur only several times per century in these regions. (CSIRO)
Science is already clear
Long-term data shows that cattle have very little or no impact on shrub cover (and hence fuel loads) in the heaths. The heaths are therefore likely to burn more severely than the grasslands, and fire severity within heaths – all other things being equal – will be similar whether they are grazed or not.
And following the 2003 bushfires, researchers studying parts of the Bogong High Plains in Victoria, came to a similar conclusion.
Present and past grazing and trampling by domestic livestock have altered the patterns of disturbance in high mountain ecosystems of Australia. Alpine humus soils and associated vegetation can be disturbed by accelerated erosion due to increases in the proportion of bare ground.
Cattle trample vegetation, increasing the amount of bare ground, and wetland communities are very susceptible to trampling damage. Cattle grazing poses a significant threat to at least 25 flora species and seven fauna species found in the park that are listed as rare, vulnerable or threatened with extinction.
Shrub invasion is facilitated by patches of bare ground on which seedlings may establish. Grazing manifestly increases the abundance of bare ground patches, and hence facilitates shrub establishment.
Over five decades of research has shown that grazing and nature conservation in alpine areas are essentially incompatible land uses.
“Alpine grazing reduces blazing”?
"Alpine grazing reduces blazing" is a widely and strongly held view, in both rural and urban regions, concerning fire in Australia’s high country. The available bio-physical evidence, based on long-term ecological research and the behaviour and impacts of the wide-spread 2003 fires, suggests it does not.
"Mountain Cattlemen care for the high country" . The truth is mountain cattlemen and their cattle decimate the high country. The Coalition are just giving in to the red-necks.
Environmental law barrister Matthew Townsend said the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment should have referred its intention to run a grazing "trial" to the Federal Government. He said the Victorian Government may have breached section 67a of the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act by allowing cattle into the park without federal approval.
Political decision made by inexperienced government
This decision is a political one, due to pressure from a powerful lobby group. The government is inexperienced and our new Environment Minister lacks environmental qualifications, like his predecessor, Gavin Jennings.
Alpine grazing has proved to be a lucrative form of public subsidy for a small number of privileged licence holders. Public land is being used as an auxiliary feed lot. There can be little doubt that those with alpine grazing leases have a lovely extension of their properties to use when feed on their home run is scarce. This is an economic-political decision, not one based on science.
What more must be "researched"? This trial sounds like Japan's "scientific research" on whales, which is really a smoke-screen for commercial harvesting.
Mount Howitt Summit, Alpine NP
The populations of Sambar and Fallow deer occupying national park and crown land in Victoria has exploded in recent decades.
Parks Victoria needs more resources for controlling threats such as weeds and feral animals, not to have time and money redirected to deal with damaging cattle grazing.
Submission to the Alpine Grazing Taskforce, Victoria, June 2004 Professor David Gillieson, Chair, National Committee for Geography, Australian Academy of Science
Ian Potter House, Gordon Street, Canberra 2601
The Keneally Government of NSW announces it will protect 107,000 hectares of Riverina redgums and set up an $80 million support package with logging to be wound down over the next five years.
But after five years the loggers would have done their redgum raping and pillaging, so seriously what forest will be left worth protecting? Keneally offers falsehood, not commitment.
Proclaims Keneally: "I've asked the people of NSW to judge me on what I do and the services I deliver." [Paul Bibby interview, Sun-Herald, 'Public Service with a Smile', 21-Feb-2010, pp. 14-15]
Keneally, in her beguilled naivety, professes to her electorate"Every night when I go to bed I think over how the day has gone, what we've accomplished, what I want to do tomorrow. It's a constant process, testing myself against the standards that I've set for myself and the standards that the people of NSW have for government."
But Keneally should be judged on her treatment of the old growth native forests of the NSW Riverina and NSW South Coast, which she is allowing be raped for railway sleepers and woodchips.
Keneally, Sartor and MacDonald have offered false promises of forest protection to follow 5 years of more logging. Yeah right! This follows the new Premier Kristina Keneally declaring just before Chrstmas that she will keep Labor warlords Joe Tripodi and Eddie Obeid as her mentors, describing them as "popular" Labor figures.
Brian Robins article in the Sydney Morning Herald today ‘Rees's plan to save redgums faces the axe’ states that environmentalist are in fact “chopping mad” over NSW Premier Keneally’s decision to allow for a five-year wind-down of logging and for ''chopping the promised area in half''.
Meanwhile, a media release yesterday by The Wilderness Society “Browns in charge: Keneally backs down on Red Gum protection” stated that both The Wilderness Society and the National Parks Association of NSW had “slammed the Keneally Government, following their back down on River Red Gum protection this morning. The decision opens up the heart of the Murray River floodplain, the exceptional Millewa forest, to on-going logging for at least five years.”
“Former Premier Rees described the Millewa Group of forests as the ‘jewel in the conservation crown’ when he declared a National Park across them.
former NSW Premier Nathan Rees
“Premier Keneally has today chopped the promised protected area in half, and turned her back on independent advice from her own scientists that recommended protecting all of Millewa immediately.”
“Allowing logging to continue within Millewa for another 5 years will not leave a forest worth protecting. Premier Keneally has failed the environment,” said Ms Flint.
“This is yet another indelible black mark on the abysmal environmental record of the NSW Labor Government. Without the full protection of Millewa, the River Red Gum decision is an empty shell”, said Peter Cooper, The Wilderness Society Sydney campaigner.
But then when new Premier Keneally appointed infamous former planning minister Frank Sartor as Environment Minister for NSW and reappointed sacked minister Ian MacDonald a combined portfolio of Minister for State and Regional Development, Minister for Forest and Mineral Resources, what did she expect?
He claimed “locking up these forests in a National Park will not only severely damage local economies and destroy local jobs, but it has the potential to undo all of the good environmental work undertaken by the forestry operators.”
Opposition to National Parks from the Minister for Forests, Ian MacDonald, has been allowed to thwart what was Ree's exceptional conservation decision. Like Rees before her, Keneally has demonstrated she is nothing but a puppet of the Labor Right.
NSW 'Punch and Judy' Show
The Natural Resource Commission set up to assess the redgum forests of the Riverina Bioregion in December 2009 made a total of sixteen recommendations to the NSW State Government as follows. Has even one been adopted?
Recommendation 1: Undertake collaborative water reform
Recommendation 2: Complete water delivery infrastructure at Koondrook-Perricoota
Recommendation 12: Find a new way to govern and fund multiple-use forests
Recommendation 13: Provide exit assistance and support the industry to adapt
Recommendation 14: Engage communities in managing forests
Recommendation 15: Empower Indigenous communities to manage some forests
Recommendation 16: Identify and fund regional development opportunities
Disgustingly, democracy has been shafted again. The entire Natural Resource Commission review and assessment of the Riverina Bioregion was another disingenuous farce by government pretending to be seen to be following due environmental assessment process, when it eventually does what it wants anyway - allows for more logging to supposedly perpetuate around a hundred odd unsustainable 19th Century jobs.
To his credit, NSW Premier, Nathan Rees in the days preceding the 4th December 2009 (his ousting as Premier) announced the creation of a massive new red gum national park along the Murray River near Deniliquin to protect much of the state's remaining river red gum forests from logging.
Loggers have complained because all the 300 year old trees they chainsawed have gone but won't magically grow back, so they want more old red gums trees to chainsaw 'to feed their families' and to 'keep their jobs' and to preserve their 'tight-knit communities' which depend on logging... just like in the 1800s when similar 'tight-knit communities' in Hobart and Albany depended on whaling.
Someone enlightened should play them a DVD on Easter Island's history.
The NSW Government 'State Plan' to which all of NSW Government policy hinges, reflects a fettish for short term economic stimulation. To the incumbent Premier Rees, 'jobs, jobs, jobs' can only be good, irrespective of which unsustainable industry they are in, or how short term they may be. The State Plan is all about jobs at all costs. The triple bottom line has gone out the door. Rees Plan ranks the environment a priority level 4 and deems native forests only valuable for exploitation and their utility benefit to humans. [SOURCE: NSW State Plan]
Read Priority E4 (the '4' means it is ranked 4th): "Better outcomes for native vegetation, biodiversity, land, rivers, and coastal waterways. A healthy environment provides the basis for our primary industries, tourism and recreational activities.". It is all about how to utilise the natural environment, not to protect it.
This priority links to priority E8: "More people using parks, sporting and recreational facilities and participating in the arts" and to priority E1: "A secure and sustainable water supply for all users" and to priority P1: "Increased business investment."
It professes motherhoood biodiversity targets like: * "By 2015 there is an increase in native vegetation extent and an improvement in native vegetation condition
* By 2015 there is an increase in the number of sustainable populations of a range of native fauna species
* By 2015 there is an increase in the recovery of threatened species, populations and ecological communities
* By 2015 there is a reduction in the impact of invasive species."
Apparently its delegated agency DECC (Department of Environment and Climate Change) keeps a scorecard, but the latest is dated 2006, three years ago.
Rees' ideology on the environment is clearly one of anthropocentric utility, if not more 19th Century abuse and exploitation, or otherwise simple neglect.
The State Plan has quashed local democracy when it comes to the environment.
Since the Carr Era, the NSW Labor Government has steadily introduced change after change to planning legislation that voids any local say in large development. It introduced a new Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act back in 2005 for what it described as 'Major Projects/Developments' giving the Minister of Planning ultimate authority for approval. Any large project deemed to be 'critical infrastructure' the Minister can overide local governments and approve. This can be a new mine, a power station, new pipeline , a new highway, a new desalination plant, whatever - even if it goes through high conservation value forests. The Minister can justify approval on the basis of being "essential for the State for economic, environmental or social reasons." The concentration of power in planning is with the Minister for Planning.
Environmental assessments have become watered down and Environmental Impact Statements virtually nonexistent. Public rights to appeal in the process have been removed, making NSW effectively an authoritarian state when it comes to land use development. Developers are having a field day. NSW coastal land is being subdivided and developed like never before.
The following quote criticising [hailing] the authority of the State rings a cord in NSW and the view of the Labor Government. Pity it came from someone even worse - Hitler - because it is so true:
"In their eyes the will of the people has no part whatever in the whole affair. For them the fact that the State exists is sufficient reason to consider it sacred and inviolable....The State no longer exists for the purpose of serving men but men exist for the purpose of adoring the authority of the State, which is vested in its functionaries, even down to the smallest official. So as to prevent this placid and ecstatic adoration from changing into something that might become in any way disturbing, the authority of the State is limited simply to the task of preserving order and tranquillity. Therewith it is no longer either a means or an end. The State must see that public peace and order are preserved and, in their turn, order and peace must make the existence of the State possible. All life must move between these two poles."
[Source: Mein Kampf, Vol. Two - The National Socialist Movement, Chapter II: 'The State']
Dangerous emerging prominence of firearms and cruel sports in our society
Game Council chairman Robert Borsak, who intends to stand for the Shooters Party in the next elections, recently visited northern Zimbabwe, where, on a two-week trip he killed several elephants for entertainment. It is, thanks to corruption of Robert Mugabe. quite "legal" and the amount he and other great "hunters" must pay is adding to the dictator's coffers.
A demented boast ...
"As he came down there was an unearthly scream as the full weight of the falling bull collapsed his heaving lungs, expelling through the trunk and sending an involuntary shiver through me. On the ground now, on bended knee the ochre coloured wet bull thrashed around with its trunk, paralysed unable to move. I reloaded as the empties flicked over my shoulder & the PH yelled to drill him again. As I approached I moved in quickly, not being sure at all exactly at that time what had happened. As I approached with some caution he lunged as far forward as his trunk & position allowed, trying to grab me. At this I placed two frontal brain shots into the now almost defunct bull and it was all over." Source of citation re Borsak's elephant murder
An obscene and sadistic passtime
Elephants are intelligent animals, and their use as targets for the thrill of killing is totally callous, obscene and sadistic!
Mr Borsak is being paid $342 a sitting day for his part in regulating hunting in NSW, and if he and the shooters have their way, our gentle native animals will be aimed at with their firearms, all for entertainment!
This man may soon join the party currently holding NSW government to ransom
If successful, he would join a party that now holds the balance of power in the upper house and is holding the Government to ransom after Mr Macdonald failed to negotiate through cabinet the right to shoot in National Parks.
Would Borsak's breeding business constitute personal fiduciary interest?
Mr Borsak breeds and sells dogs to help killing duck, quail and other "game" bird hunting.
It's against the ethics of politicians to have a personal fiduciary interest in what they are in charge of as politicians! In a fiduciary relation good conscience requires one to act at all times for the sole benefit and interests of another, with loyalty to those interests. Borsak has financial interest in propagating hunting. This is something parliamentary regulators should be investigating.
The emerging interest in firearms in our society, as demonstrated by the rise in influence of this lobby and political group, is dangerous and needs to be quashed and outlawed.
Sustained protests from Australians who are horrified at the cold-blooded policies pushed by the NSW Cabinet seem to have had an effect for the moment. It is believed that public reaction to this bill has put the wind up members in marginal seats. The proposal has the obvious 'pay-off' for a cash-strapped spendthrift government of pushing through another unpopular privatisation - this time of a state lottery.
"A decision was deferred until further talks could be held with the Shooters. The Opposition, the Greens and environmental groups oppose the bill and the Government had been accused of supporting it because it relied on the Shooters Party for critical support [to sell off a state lottery] in the upper house."Source:The Sydney Morning Herald
Shooters Party & NSW Labor - Rees Government
The Shooters Party had introduced a private member's bill to "allow recreational hunters to shoot native animals and birds and to allow for private game reserves to be set up for professional safari hunters."Source:The Sydney Morning Herald
NSW Liberal Nationals declare strong opposition to notion of sporting shooting in National Parks
The NSW Liberal Nationals portray themselves as strongly opposed to the shooting of Australian native species in National Parks, and the establishment of private shooting reserves. SourceThey say they will introduce amendments to the Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment Bill to ban it, according to Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Catherine Cusack MLC, and the Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Duncan Gay.
"The NSW Liberal / Nationals' move comes following a backdoor attempt - with the apparent support of the NSW Labor Government - to introduce unprecedented shooting of Australian native animals, including in National Parks, as well as private game reserves,” said Ms Cusack.
“We will oppose this and introduce other amendments aimed at genuinely managing the real environmental and other threats posed by feral animals - not Australian native species.
"The shooting of Australian native species in our National Parks or exotic species in private 'game parks' are offensive concepts. If this legislation is brought on the NSW Liberal / Nationals are armed and ready to move legislative amendments to make sure it doesn't happen.”
Illegal release of animals for hunting purposes & feral pig and deer problem
One of these amendments includes changing the Game Act to increase the penalty by four times as much for anyone caught illegally releasing animals for the purpose of hunting. The fine will now be $22,000 for persons caught illegally releasing animals.
“The feral pig problem in NSW is due to the deliberate release of piglets and juveniles for the purposes of hunting,” said Ms Cusack.
“We are also seeing deer being released in many National Parks - they are spreading weeds and are an incredible threat to agriculture as well as the environment.
“I challenge the NSW Labor Government to support our tougher penalties.”
Mr Gay said NSW National Parks and their neighbours needed a comprehensive and strong approach to managing the threat of feral animals - especially as the State comes out of drought and feral animal numbers go up.
“Strongly regulated professional shooting is part of that - unprecedented and unrelated new rights for people like wealthy overseas hunting tourists should not be," Mr Gay said.
"We need comprehensive and strong management of feral species including professional conservation shooting - we don't need for NSW to inadvertently become the Safari State of the Southern Hemisphere.”
Details of Other legislative amendments to be moved by the NSW Liberal / Nationals
Other legislative amendments to be moved by the NSW Liberal / Nationals will:
* Put strong regulatory limits and controls on the use of professional, limited shooting for the appropriate management of feral animals;
* Give Forestry and DECC officers stronger powers to oversee feral animal shooting - rather than the proposal to make it an offence for them to approach hunters;
* Give the Minister for Environment the regulatory power to classify in which National Parks feral animal shooting should take place - rather than the proposed 'one size fits all' approach that makes all National Parks - be they urban or rural - public hunting lands;
* Continue to allow farmers to appropriate manage feral animals on their properties - rather than requiring the proposal that they be forced to pay for licences;
* Ban trap shooting with live birds
Mr Gay said the NSW Liberal / Nationals would fight strongly for these and other amendments because of the need to protect Australian native animals and manage feral animals.
“That's in the best interests of both the environment and rural communities that border National Parks,” he said.
Ms Cusack urgently called on NSW Labor to do the right thing and support the Coalition’s amendments.
During February's bushfires, the Victorian government's Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) has allowed nearly all of the natural ecology of the northern half of Wilsons Promontory to burn. Is the Prom fire (now having destroyed 24,800 hectares of native habitat) being deliberately left to burn by DSE? DSE and CFA have protected private property at Tidal River and Yanakie. So is what's really happening down at the Prom away from public scrutiny?
During February's bushfires, the Victorian government's Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) has allowed nearly all of the natural ecology of the northern half of Wilsons Promontory National Park (The Prom) to burn.
Out of control? Lack of resources? Or has The Prom fire (now having destroyed 24,800 hectares of native habitat) in fact been deliberately left to burn? DSE in collaboration with the Victorian Government's CFA have protected private property at Tidal River and Yanakie. So what really has been going on at The Prom behind the fire barricade out of public view? Why was the small fire north of Sealers Cove not extinguished on Friday 13th February when it was nearly out? Why after three weeks with mild weather conditions has this wildfire not been put out? Why, ahead of more forecast hot winds, has DSE risked this fire continuing?
Is this in fact an opportunistic prescribed burn...thanks to lightning? Is it in fact because the DSE doesn't want the fire out..not until its prescribed burn area is burnt?
A DSE operational fire planning document sourced from the Yarram Fire Distict (which includes The Prom) shows that most of The Prom that has now been burnt is in fact part of DSE's 'Planned Burns' for 2009, 2010 and 2011 anyway. The DSE map (attached) shows no fires history for the northern half of The Prom.
On this DSE planned burn map of The Prom, no areas are off limits from burning save the few villages and small pockets of private property and what the DSE has mapped as Zone 5 'Exclusion of Prescribed Burning'.
All other natural bushland areas of The Prom have been targeted by DSE for burning anyway.
This prescribed burning culture labels all bush hazardous 'fuel' and a demonic threat. Instead of putting out the fires in bushland they let the bush burn and all the native animals burn alive in the process.
They brag... 'we save houses, the bush will grow back so what's the problem?'
The 'Department for Sparks and Embers' is living up to its name.
But who's responsible for the fauna?
Over two weeks since lightning struck the east coast of Wilsons Promontory on the Cathedral Range just north of Sealers Cove, most of the northern half of ‘the Prom’ has been burnt. The Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA) website reports 23,000 hectares burnt out. The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) website shows the following map of the burn (shaded area below). The fire has burnt the Cathedral Range, along the east coastline right across and along the Corner Inlet shoreline to Millers Landing.
The Wilsons Promontory bushfire was reportedly sparked by lightning striking the remote Cathedral Range on the east coast just north of Sealers Cove on Sunday 8th February 2009. Witnesses say that by the following Friday 13th, the fire was still localised on the Range and all but out. This is confirmed by the following satellite photo taken by NASA's MODIS Rapid Response Team on the 13th. The satellite takes high-resolution images of visible, shortwave and near-infrared light of Victoria twice daily.
Over the subsequent days the fire continued to burn then the winds increased. Now, more than two weeks later most of the northern half of ‘the Prom’ has been burnt. The vegetation has gone. The Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA) website today reports 23,800 hectares burnt out. The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) website shows the following map of the burn (shaded area below).
The fire has burnt the Cathedral Range, along the east coastline right across and along the Corner Inlet shoreline to Millers Landing. Affected sites are Vereker Creek, Whiskey Bay, Tongue Point, Monkey Point, Three Mile Point, Mt Roundback, Three Mile Beach, Mt Margaret, Lighthouse Point Lighthouse, Mt Hunter and parts of Darby Swamp. Wilsons Promontory National Park is just one of the many important natural and wilderness areas of Victoria devastated by these current bushfires.
In the case of the Prom, this is the second time in four years that fire has burnt through this northern region. On 21 March 2005, a twenty hectare prescribed burn was lit east of Tidal River. It escaped three times over a period of twelve days and burnt out 6,000 hectares of native bushland in the National Park.
A key investigative report was undertaken by Commissioner, Emergency Services, Bruce Esplin, (the Esplin 2005 Report) into a number of fires over previous years. In the case of this DSE prescribed burn in the Prom, the investigations found that the prescribed burn was poorly planned and after ignition, was not patrolled properly.
A notable finding of the report was that: “There remains considerable community uncertainty about the effectiveness of the prescribed burning program, and what changes, if any have occurred in the amount of prescribed burning undertaken since 2003”.( para 33)
Yet prescribed burning continues each year across Australia, not in the small mosaics, but on a grand scale and with a record of frequently getting out of control. On top of the 6,000 hectares four years ago, just a few days ago we hear of over 23,000 hectares of the Prom has now been burnt. Fires in the Prom also occurred in 2001.
The Prom has diverse vegetation communities including warm temperate and cool temperate rainforest, tall open forests, woodlands, heathlands, and swamp and coastal communities. There are rare stands of White Mangrove, being the most southerly stands of mangroves in the world.
The Prom is rich its diversity of native mammals with over thirty species having been recorded, many of which are either rare or threatened. These include the Long-nosed Potoroo, Swamp Antechinus, White-footed Dunnart, Broad-toothed Rat, Feather-tailed Glider and Eastern Pygmy-possum. “One of the most significant habitats of the New Holland Mouse also occurs within the park, and a number of species of whale have been sighted in the waters off its coastline.” The Prom also provides habitat to populations of Eastern Grey Kangaroos, koalas, wombats and emus.
The heathlands, influenced by the frequency and intensity of fire, are rich in species and provide habitats for a variety of fauna, including many threatened species. [Source: Parks Victoria website]
However, bushfire research across Australia has shown that while some native flora are fire tolerant and/or can recover and in some case thrive in the immediate years following a fire, other species have not adapted and so they become displaced and can die out. (DSE website).
While the Victorian Royal Commission is focusing on the fire management measures to protect life and private and public property associated with the 2009 Victorian Bushfires, the impacts on flora and fauna seem to have been overlooked. Some species may not survive if fires are too frequent, as the plants are unable to reach maturity and produce sufficient seed before the next fire episode. (DSE website).
Little is known about the recovery of fauna diversity as a consequence of such widespread bushfires, be they caused by lightning, intentionally or otherwise. But given the scale of these current fires across the Prom crossing from shore to shore, it is probable than many native animals, as in many other parts of Victoria, will have been burnt alive in the fires and that their already rare populations will now have declined substantially and be at risk of local extinction.
In respect to Australia’s fauna, given that there we now have a fraction of the intact native habitat compared with pre-1788, how can anyone argue that allowing bushfires to get out of control is not a threatening process?
In Victoria in 1992 some bureaucrat got the idea of changing the name (and focus) of the Department of Conservation and Environment to a Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, then in 1996 to a Department of Natural Resources and Environment, then in 2003 a split to (1) a Victorian Department of Primary Industries and (2) a Department of Sustainability and Environment.
Currently it's known by its obscure acronym DSE...(Don't Support Environment, or Department of Sparks and Embers).
Across the border in NSW, in 2007, the Department of Environment and Conservation was changed to the Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC). Rather than forming a dedicated research and response organisation to focus on climate change, the conservation was dropped from the existing department. Cynically, including 'climate change' as a name of one of its departments, government must feel cosy sending a message it is addressing climate change. For a while the department was headed up by The NSW Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Water - a bucket of outdoor type activities that sounded good together.
Across the border in South Australia, they have the Department for the Environment and Heritage (DEH), which sounds borrowed from the federal Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (another collective bucket). It is hard to see how with so many diverse portfolios, a minister can dedicate any leadership to making genuine improvements to what's left of Australia's intact natural environment and its desperate need for conservation.
With all the money spent on names changing, the tens of thousands could have gone into onground conservation activities like fox control programmes.
I have been monitoring the Jan-Feb 2009 Victorian bushfires from NSW and have turned my attention to the bushfire management in a natural area - Wilsons Promontory. I note satellite observations of the fire with concern showing the lighting ignition on the east coast started 9th February, but had almost extinguished itself by the 13th. Then a wind change drove it out of control. A week later it has burnt out 22,000 hectares (almost 50% of our precious 50,000ha Prom)!
While the Country Fire Authority (CFA) has paid special attention to non-imminent bushfire risks to rather distant private property. The CFA says "the fire does not currently pose a threat to the Yanakie community." Backburning the Prom is given as the only bushfire response strategy. So do we interpret this as a noncommittal response by the CFA for the Prom - that is since no human lives or private property are at threat, the CFA's bushfire response is to just 'monitor' the fire and put out the spot fires threatening private property to the north?
I interpret this bushfire management by Victoria's CFA as one that respects only human life and property, but does not rate the natural asset values of fauna and flora habitat of the Prom with any respect.
The CFA reports read as though CFA policy for active and damaging bushfires in important conservation areas is to wait for rain, but otherwise 'let it burn'.
And yet the Bureau of Meteorology forecasts hot and windy conditions for tomorrow Monday, 23 Feb 2009.
I interpret this bushfire management by Victoria's CFA as one that respects only human life and property, but does not rate the natural asset values of fauna and flora habitat of the Prom with any respect. It seems at best an opportunity for de-facto hazard reduction that it would normally not get permission to do, and at worst an inconvenient distraction for CFA crews.
If this is the prevailing attitude of rural firefighting then clearly the CFA has no interest in natural assets, and no mandate to protect them from fire in the same passionate way it does private property? There seems no difference in approach or skill set by the CFA to that that would be exercised by urban fire brigades.
So why do we have a CFA? Professional fire brigades are expensive, whereas volunteers are cheap is the political answer!
On this basis, it is overdue for the CFA to be incorporated within the urban fire brigade structure. While this initial structural change won't save Victoria's vast tracts of wildlife habitat in the short term, it will sure will remove the false premise to the community that the CFA respects and defends natural wildlife habitats.
What does Victorian Government's Department of Sustainability and Environment have to say for itself? It is charged with the Promontory's protection.