Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, says the community would be shocked by the Federal Government’s dismissal of his question in Parliament today about Australia’s RAAF firefighting capability.
The Minister for Emergency Management, David Littleproud MP, batted away Mr Wilkie’s call for the Federal Government to support the recommendations made in the NSW bushfire inquiry, headed by Dave Owens APM, the former Deputy Commissioner of NSW Police, and Professor Mary O’Kane AC, the NSW Independent Planning Commission Chair and former NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, in response to Australia’s devastating black summer.
“The Government’s disinterest in this issue should send shivers down the community’s spine,” Mr Wilkie said. “As we race towards our next bushfire season we should be looking at ways to improve Australia’s firefighting capabilities, including by equipping the RAAF to use roll-on roll-off firefighting tank systems. This was one of the key recommendations of the NSW bushfire inquiry but today Minister Littleproud effectively ridiculed it as being of no importance.
“The Minister is correct in saying that we must listen to the experts and officials, rather than politicians, which is why it beggars belief he completely dismissed my call for the Federal Government to act on the MAFFS recommendation. I dread to think what other recommendations will be ignored by the Government.
“The Federal Government’s arrogance and dismissal of this recommendation dishonours all those affected by last summer’s catastrophic fires. Until the Government acts on the recommendations, history is bound to repeat itself as our climate continues to warm and bushfires become more severe.”