A fast-moving bushfire threatens property at Cobraball Road.
A fast-moving bushfire threatens property at Cobraball Road.

Rural brigades set to help shape new bushfire risk management plans

LESSONS learned from last month’s Cobraball bushfires will help shape strategies to manage future disasters.

Livingstone Shire Council is working on developing new wildfire risk management plans and mitigation measures, with input from rural fire brigades set to play a key role.

“It is something the brigades have been asking for,” Mayor Bill Ludwig said.

“Brigades and community members all through the area must, and will be, consulted post this (Cobraball) event.

“There will be lessons learned from operational points of view, as far as the powers that are necessary for police and other agencies.”

Following a recent public meeting post-Cobraball at The Caves, rural fire brigade personnel and members of the community asked Councillor Glenda Mather to submit a list of recommendations for Livingstone to consider.

Among them, they want to see each rural fire brigade issued with an updated fire management plan - one which complements, and does not conflict with, Livingstone Shire’s disaster management plan.

They also say there needs to be an identified representative at each brigade headquarters who has an open line of communication to a dedicated person at central command during bushfire events.

“Local knowledge is the best source to directly communicate with central command,” Cr Mather said.

The Caves community would also like to see the council investigate the possible installation of overhead standpipes at strategic locations throughout the shire for emergency access and refill.

Ten recommendations were submitted to Livingstone, stemming from issues which are claimed to have hindered the control of blazes during the latest disaster.

“All stakeholder agencies strive to protect our communities, but until each understands the needs of the others, and commit to work as one, the desired outcomes will not fully be achieved,” Cr Mather said.

Concerns that rural fire-fighters battling the recent Capricorn Coast bushfires were denied permission to backburn as they attempted to control the blaze, were raised in state parliament recently.

North Queensland First leader Jason Costigan asked Labor’s Minister for Emergency Services Craig Crawford, via a question on notice, if local volunteer fireys were overruled by someone high up in the department he administers.

“Essentially, we’re talking about a turf war here; all this unfolding when people were losing property and in some parts of the country, people losing their lives,” Mr Costigan said.

Mr Crawford has until January 6 to respond in parliament to Mr Costigan’s question on notice.

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