Canavan blasts the Queensland Government's bushfire review
LNP leaders have lashed out at the Queensland Government's review into the devastating bushfires that tore through parts of the state last year, saying it had failed to investigate key disaster prevention concerns.
The government released its review into the bushfires on Monday afternoon.
LNP Senator Matthew Canavan said restrictions put in place were contributing to fire risk in Central Queensland.
"What this report has shown is the Queensland Government must reassess its native vegetation legislation," Senator Canavan said.
"I'm glad the Inspector General has backed the view of the LNP, that this legislation must be reassessed.
"Queensland Government's response to this independent report is a slap in the face to the people of Central Queensland.
"The review clearly recommends the government should reassess the legislation around landowners' ability to clear their land to put in firebreaks. Instead they are saying they will engage in an education campaign to educate all us silly people in CQ that don't know what we are talking about."
Senator Canavan said he preferred to back the landowners and farmers "who know how to manage their own land".
"They have been through many bushfires and know what they need to do to best prepare for them," he said.
"We need to give them more flexibility, more control over their own land and the Queensland Government should accept in full the recommendations from this report.
"The government's response to this review only accepts in principal this recommendation to reassess the legislative framework, and their initial response seems to indicate they are not going to do any such reassessment, they are just going to educate us all about how they got it right and we are all wrong."
Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said nothing had changed to the way property owners cleared firebreaks to protect their homes or with Queensland Fire and Emergency Service fire permits for backburning.
"The LNP continue to spread misinformation on what can and can't be done, and have caused a level of confusion that is not only unnecessary but downright dangerous," Mr Crawford said.
"People's lives are at stake.
"It is dangerous and they must stop now.
"How far will they go to score cheap political points?
"The IGEM report recommended a single point of contact for advice for all bushfire mitigation inquiries and permits.
"Government is now working on consolidating both QFES expertise and firebreak advice from the vegetation management experts via the existing 135 VEG hotline.
"In the interim, we urge rural producers and landholders to continue to call 135 VEG to get the facts about vegetation management and to follow the advice of QFES's latest bushfire education campaign."
State Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said the review failed to investigate whether Labor's "mismanagement" of fuel loads and firebreaks on state-controlled land worsened the bushfires.
"We know our emergency service workers did an amazing job - that was never in doubt," Ms Frecklington said.
"The report fails to look at whether Labor prepared the state properly before the fortnight of fires devastated Queensland communities.
"We know there were nearly 1000 less hazard reduction burns conducted and attended by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service in 2018 compared to 2015.
"The report was all about Labor saving face rather than saving communities from bushfires."
Opposition fire and emergency services spokesman Lachlan Millar said it was unacceptable the report failed to make any recommendations despite many submissions on the mismanagement of state-controlled land and issues with getting fire permits approved.
"Rather than taking responsibility for slashing hazard reduction burns, the Queensland Government blamed our farmers for fuelling the bushfires," Mr Millar said.
"Blaming farmers for being confused about backburning rights while ignoring Labor's own mismanagement of state-controlled land and national parks is a new low.
"Queenslanders deserve answers to crucial questions about how the bushfires caused so much damage.
"Landholders have been very open and frank with us and the government over how policy settings should be overhauled."