Minister fumes over claims of inadequate fire protection
Minister fumes over claims of inadequate fire protection

Kate Jones fumes over claims

VETERAN politician and volunteer fire-fighter Ted Malone is going to need all his experience to quell a blazing row with Climate Change Minister Kate Jones over the Rockhampton bushfires.

Ms Jones was left fuming yesterday after a series of attacks in which he accused her of ignoring warnings that the Berserker Wilderness Area had not been adequately protected from risk.

And she bristled at his challenge to join him fighting fires so she could better understand what was involved.

She said as soon as she became the responsible minister she went on a planned burn so she could better understand the process.

Ms Jones said as the minister responsible for the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, managing wildfires was her top priority.

“It’s something I take extremely seriously and for Mr Malone to infer differently through a statement to the press is incredibly insulting,” she told The Morning Bulletin yesterday.

She said it was a shame Mr Malone had not sought a face-to-face meeting with her. “My door is always open and if he had genuine concerns he can come and see me any time.”

Ms Jones said she had asked the fire commissioner specifically if he had any concerns about preparations in the wilderness and he had said no. She was waiting for the findings of an independent investigation into the fires that raged on the outskirts of Rockhampton and would implement every recommendation.

“Ted Malone is playing politics with an issue that is so serious it can threaten the environment, lives and property,” she said.

And she said he was peddling false statements when he claimed the Government had cut the number of frontline park rangers.

But Mr Malone risked fanning the flames of the argument yesterday.

“The facts show that little was done to mitigate wildfire risks and her own annual report proves there are fewer rangers than last year,” he said.

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