Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader and Parks spokesperson
Tasmanians will be left feeling disturbed after Minister Jaensch confirmed Parks and Wildlife's current vehicle fleet is unfit for fighting bushfires.
The majority of Parks' fleet vehicles used to carry slip on fire tankers during the fire season exceed the vehicle’s gross vehicular mass (GVM) when loaded with a tanker full of water, pump and other essential equipment. Minister Jaensch has been aware of this for at least a year.
When the Greens asked the Mr Jaensch about this in Parliament today, citing an email from management to Parks staff warning against the use of the vehicles, he attempted to blame the pandemic.
Minister Jaensch has had a full year to address this issue, yet Parks are heading in to this year’s fire season unprepared.
It is our understanding Treasury prevented Parks from replacing the vehicles in March this year because the auction market was experiencing a downturn. Now the bushfire season is around the corner and the Parks and Wildlife Service is ill-equipped to tackle fires in the wilderness and remote regions.
Parks staff are being told by management the interim measure to deal with the unsuitability of vehicles in the event of a fire is to arrive at a fire with an only part filled water tank. This is totally unacceptable, not only would it restrict our capacity to fight a raging bushfire, it puts those firefighters in increased danger.
Wilderness fires are increasing in frequency and intensity due to human induced climate change. Preparedness is critical to preservation of lives, communities and wilderness.