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Barnett Dismisses Escaped Tarkine Burn

5 Apr 2017

Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens' Environment spokesperson

The Minister for Resources did not answer the Greens' questions about the escaped Tarkine regeneration burn in Parliament today.

It's clear he was either refusing to answer the question, or he was unaware of the fire. Either way, this is a dangerous attitude towards fire in our wilderness.

When conservationists alerted authorities about the escaped burn yesterday afternoon, they were told Forestry Tasmania did not have a team on hand to manage it.  This morning, Minister Barnett was unable or unwilling to reassure residents of Arthur River in the State's North West.

The fire was ablaze, unmanaged, 6km away from the Arthur River township, burning high conservation value forests.  The Liberals cannot claim their regeneration burn program is "best practice", as Mr Barnett asserts.

This is the same area of forest that was burned in the 2016 bushfires and it has not yet recovered.

The Minister today showed little interest in the fire, the threat to communities and the loss of conservation values.  This amounts to negligence, and a dereliction of his duty as Minister.

Whether they like it or not, the Liberals have a responsibility to the whole community to manage these burns and  to protect Tasmania’s wilderness assets.  Crews must be kept on hand at all times when required to contain the fires, and protect the community and conservation values.