The Royal Commission Implementation Monitor, Neil Comrie, has once again questioned the policy of burning five per cent of public land annually. The Monitor’s Annual report is released today. It can be found here.
The relevant section of the report is on pages 51-2. It runs as follows:
‘The [Monitor’s] 2012 Final Report advocated that the State reconsider the planned burning rolling target of five per cent and replace it with a risk based approach focused on the protection of life and property. In 2013, the BRCIM went further stating concerns that the 390,000 ha target may not be achievable, affordable or sustainable. The BRCIM’s view in relation to this target is unchanged. Area based hectare targets alone will not necessarily reduce the bushfire risk to life and property in Victoria and may have adverse environmental outcomes…
‘With the benefit of five years dedicated work in this area, the BRCIM considers it may be timely for the State to reconsider [Royal Commission] Recommendation 56, having regard to the positive shift in focus from a numeric area based target to a risk based approach in order to deliver an effective long term program of planned burning.’
Will the State Government — or the Labor Party, which has the same policy–reconsider the target in the light of these continuing recommendations? We’re not hopeful. After Mr Comrie’s 2012 report Minister Ryan said ‘I see the logic of what he argues and we will give it due consideration.’ When we asked the minister what was the result of this ‘due consideraton’ all we got was a set of evasions.