Promises, promises

‘The Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action wants your feedback on the draft of Victoria’s Bushfire Management Strategy, which will set the vision for bushfire management in Victoria for the next 10 years.’

You can find the strategy here.

And you can make a submission here.

The strategy comes in three parts: people safety, conservation, and Aboriginal management.

There’s plenty of reasonable stuff in this document. Nothing wrong with this aim, for example:

‘To achieve genuine ecosystem resilience and positive nature conservation outcomes, the sector will integrate this improved understanding into decision making. This includes identifying and protecting environmental values and assets during on-ground operations and implementing on[1]ground programs to manage increased threats to environmental values (such as weeds and pests) resulting from the applied fire regime.’

The problem with the document might be that there are too many future tense sentences in it. ‘The sector will improve its knowledge of fire regimes…’ ‘The sector will continue to monitor…’ ‘The sector will ensure the scale of each target is appropriate…’ ‘The sector will support…adaptive management…’ ‘The sector… will…continue to improve…will optimise…will ensure…’ And so on.

A reader already sceptical about the ‘sector’s’ monitoring and adaptive management record will not be impressed by the promise that things will ‘continue to improve.’ Promises like this have been made for years, and it’s hard to be impressed by the results.

Let’s recall the Auditor General’s 2021 report:

‘DELWP advised us that it cannot guarantee the protection of all threatened species given:

  • current funding levels
  • scientific constraints around how species respond to threats and actions to control these in the wild, particularly in a time of climate change
  • the long-term lag effects on Victoria’s biodiversity of over 200 years of colonisation.’

Lack of funding, lack of knowledge…Conservationists have been banging on about these things for years.

Still, if you have the time, it might be worth having a go. We recommend you ask, what is there in the strategy to guarantee that the funding levels identified by the Auditor General as inadequate will be brought up to scratch?

The consultation closes on August 20

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