Bush Fires – Councillor’s Concern

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

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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

 To the Editor

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.

Regards
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.

Geoff Dingle

PRESS RELEASE

“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

 

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2 Responses to Bush Fires – Councillor’s Concern

  1. Patricia Ann says:

    I send my condolences to all affected by the bushfires and give my most sincere thanks to all the Volunteers that helped out the people who were and are still affected by the bushfires.
    My Family have lived at Williamtown for >150 years and in the time of my Father and Uncle every year they took a little walk through the bush at the back of our land in the late winter months and if there was a build up of undergrowth, they would drop a match. This caused small areas to have low bush growth to be removed and no damage was done to the native flora and fauna. This method has been used successfully by the Aboriginal People throughout Australia for more years than my Family have been here. If this was allowed more often by the Rural Bushfire Brigade we would very rarely have these “ideal conditions” for a bushfire disaster.
    I can only say that I hope that an event like this doesn’t occur when Maccas is in full swing at Cowsh*t Corner. I imagine how catastrophic an event like this could be if there was also an accident at Pauls Corner Roundabout and the emergency services were unable to attend. I ask all people who are in the Tilligerry and Tomeree Peninsulas to give these comments a bit of thought and imagine how much more devasting the consequences could be then.

  2. Terry Wall says:

    Good one Geoff. It sure seems lopsided, at best!

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