Councillor refutes bushfire charge
ROCKHAMPTON councillor Tony Williams yesterday rejected suggestions Koongal residents had been left to fend for themselves ahead of the bushfire season.
Cr Williams was responding to comments by former councillor Neil Fisher that residents who found themselves in the firing line in 2009 were once again at nature’s mercy ahead of what authorities were predicting could be the worst season in 20 years.
Both Cr Williams and Mr Fisher were affected by the October 2009 blaze.
Cr Williams said he had spent the weekend talking to people and had been busy in recent days distributing the council’s DVD on how to best prepare for natural disasters, such as bushfires.
“I’m quite aware of what the situation is here,” Cr Williams said.
“To make out I haven’t been doing any work is far from the truth.”
He said Mr Fisher had not raised any concerns with him or attended any of the community events, such as a Greening Australia tree planting and barbeque, aimed at promoting fire awareness and enabling residents to voice grievances.
Mr Fisher said a lot of positive things had happened behind the scenes since the story ran yesterday.
He said the bottom line was nobody wanted to go through again what happened in 2009.
Meanwhile, the Rockhampton Regional Council said it owned a small parcel of land along Hinds St and this area was covered and maintained under the council’s fire mitigation works schedule.
“Work for this area was scheduled for August to get the maximum benefit leading up to the bush fire season in September,” the council said in a statement.
And Member for Mirani Ted Malone also assured Rockhampton and Capricorn Coast residents he would not be silenced on bushfire preparedness.
“Mr (Robert) Schwarten says he’d rather take advice from professionals than me,” Mr Malone said.
“In the lead up to the 2009 fire season, he and the rest of his Labor ministers, particularly the then Environment Minister Kate Jones, ignored repeated calls from local residents and rural fire brigade leaders for dangerously high fuel loads to be reduced.”
He said history was repeating itself.