The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, has raised concerns about fire protection in Loch Sport in State Parliament.
Mr O’Brien has invited the Minister for Environment, Steve Dimopoulos to visit Loch Sport and address fire issues, most particularly the need for increased fuel reduction burning and firebreaks around the town.
This follows Mr O’Brien’s recent discussions with numerous Loch Sport residents.
“Immediately after the recent fire threat passed, I had an impromptu meeting with many Loch Sport locals and I have since visited again to speak with others and subsequently received a number of emails.
“The people of Loch Sport remain concerned about the lack of fuel reduction burning and the need for a better firebreak at each end of town and this is something that the government needs to address.
“Indeed, I have been sent a copy of a letter from 1983 from Loch Sport residents to the National Parks Service seeking virtually the same outcomes as are being sought today.
“While we now have an excellent firebreak on the western end of town – albeit under very unfortunate circumstances – the national park at the eastern end has not had a recent fuel reduction burn despite one being planned in 2022-23 and the community is very concerned about the threat at that end.
“I’ve also raised concerns about the management of this particular fire including with respect to the use of heavy equipment and whether firebreaks should have been put in around the edge of town.
“I hope the Minister will come and visit the area to see first-hand the vulnerability of Loch Sport and ensure that action is taken to minimise fire danger in future.”
Mr O’Brien said he was also raising a number of other issues with the state government and other agencies including the operation of the emergency warning systems, the town fire siren, a safe harbour for Loch Sport on Lake Victoria and the adequacy of protection of the electricity line connecting the town.
“This will be an ongoing process, but we must do better to protect Loch Sport.
“Thankfully the good work of firefighters, including aerial bombers, and the onset of rain ensured that the town was spared this time.
“However, we can’t be complacent and need to ensure the best possible safety measures are put in place.
“I will keep fighting for more care to be taken to protect Loch Sport.”