Updated 12 December 2013 December
Newcastle Herald 12 December 2013: Firefighters Between A Rock And A Hot Place
Daily Telegraph 12 December 2013: Environmental Rules Slammed – Port Stephens Area Under Flames was About To Be Back Burned
PS Council Version of events: ‘Council News’ 12 December 2013
Posted 14 October 2013
2GB Steve Price 14 October 14 2013: HERE
ABC 2NC Coverage: HERE
4VL Alan Jones / Bruce Mackenzie, October 22 2013: HERE
Postscript October 15 2013 Below
Community leaders in Port Stephens should be giving thanks for the fantastic work of our rural fire brigades and emergency personnel in the wake of serious fires in the Salt Ash and Fingal Bay area’s.
Instead Mayor Bruce Mackenzie choose to attack State Fire authorities and argue that if home owners had been allowed to burn off then no homes would potentially have been lost in these fires. This is the same person who bought DA’s in front of Port Stephens Councilors this year approving against staff recommendations houses without fire protection conditions recommended by State Fire authorities reversing previous Council decisions.
The Mayor and his supporting Councilors described senior Fire authorities at a public Council meeting as boof heads and dismissed fire protection regulations as unnecessary arguing fires don’t burn down hill in the case of the Rocky Point Rd DA. Instead of offering support for community members devastated by loss of homes and life memories the Mayor shifts the blame on the authorities and indirectly volunteers who placed their own lives on the line to save homes and protect thousands of Port Stephens resident’s.
Its concern enough that these home owners will forever will lay awake wondering what steps they might have taken to save their property and belongings. Good leadership is about support for our community supporting the policies and regulations put in place by professional thoughtful people concerned only with the protecting and well-being of our community.
Cr. Geoff Dingle
Postscript to this story 15 October 2013:
This message from the Mayor encompasses some of the worse hypocrisy I have encountered after the comments made on 2NC this morning, where the Mayor argued people lost their homes because they had been prevented from back burning, the NSW Rural Fire Service was part of the problem followed by denigration of the Fire Services Commissioner with words to effect he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
“Message from the Mayor McKenzie
My deepest condolences go out to those who have lost their homes, their properties and their livelihoods in the recent bush-fire disasters across Port Stephens.
As a lifelong resident of Salt Ash, it’s heartbreaking to see the devastation of the last 24 hours.
We all accept the risk of bush fire as part of living in this great nation, but we can never be prepared for the emotional turmoil of losing that which we have worked so hard for.
I must pass on my sincerest gratitude to those who have worked tirelessly to fight the fires, save our homes, and offer respite to those in need, especially members of the Rural Fire Service.
I wish to thank NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell, NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons and Minister for Police and Emergency Services The Hon. Michael Gallacher MLC for their visit to Port Stephens disaster areas today.
They have also agreed to attend a public meeting with residents to look for ways of further reducing the risk of fire in this area. It is essential that all the relevant authorities undertake the most appropriate preventable measures we can.
I am extremely thankful that there has been no loss of human life in this disaster. We are a strong and supportive local community and I have no doubt we will all ‘pitch-in’ now to help those in need. ”
The politics of contrition, seeking political absolution?
“Sometimes it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission,” Mr Abbott told his colleagues.
This all seems a bit familiar these days……….. Webmaster