Lessons from Lancefield [1]: resourcing

The management burn which escaped from the Cobaw State Forest in October with disastrous results was the subject of an independent investigation led by Stuart Carter. His report was released last week. It can be found here.

We won’t comment on the report’s wider judgments, since we’re not familiar with the Cobaw area, but would like to highlight two of its findings, which we believe are applicable virtually anywhere in the state. The first is on resourcing:

‘Interviews [with DELWP staff] also revealed that there is a resignation by staff that district resources and budgets are tight and this may result in resources at a burn being “thin”. The Investigation Team noted that many of the staff interviewed commented that the resourcing for the  Lancefield-­‐Cobaw  burn  was not optimal however “we do what we can with what we have” or “we are just used to managing with what we have”.’

How many times have we heard a version of this? Policy and colour documents are fine. Too often they have been used to cover up what we are unfortunately used to: land management on the cheap.


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