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Huge crowd underlines concern on Loch Sport fire risk

Almost 300 people turned out to a meeting in Loch Sport on Saturday called to raise concern and seek action on fire risk in the town.

Organised by the Loch Sport Community Reference Group (CRG) the event was attended by The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, Wellington Shire Mayor Alan Hall and several officials from Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Forest Fire Management Victoria, Parks Victoria, CFA and the Gunaikurnai Land and Water Corporation (GLaWAC).

Mr O’Brien said the packed hall indicated just how concerned Loch Sport residents are about fire risk in their town.

“This meeting was called by the CRG after community concern expressed in the light of the recent East Gippsland bushfires,” Mr O’Brien said.

“It’s not lost on anyone in Loch Sport that there are considerable similarities between Loch Sport and Mallacoota – both surrounded by national park and vegetation and both with just one road in and one road out.

“The meeting was concerned but moderate as people highlighted the need for significant fuel reduction burning and the construction of fire breaks on the outskirts of town adjacent to and in national parks.

“There was also some concern about vegetation management by private landowners and Council in town.”

Mr O’Brien circulated a petition calling on the State Government to take action to better protect the town which was enthusiastically signed by hundreds of residents.

“I will take the concerns of the community back to the State Government and ensure their voice is heard. I have already written to both the Minister for Emergency Services and the Minister for Environment about these issues, but a strong petition will help.”

Mr O’Brien said the petition would be available in local businesses over the next few weeks ahead of the return of Parliament in February.

“Congratulations to the CRG and moderator Craig Holland for calling and hosting this meeting and also to the people of Loch Sport who came together in a considered manner to express their desire for action to protect their town.

A large crowd gathered at the Loch Sport Hall to express concern over fire risk in their town.

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