Rattenbury rebuts claims that “Greens hazard reduction ban” is to blame for blazes

Shane Rattenbury MLA 20 January 2020 130
Hazardous fuel loads

Greens leader and ACT minister Shane Rattenbury says claims that Greens policy is responsible for hazardous fuel loads is bogus. Photo: File.

Saturday marked the 17th anniversary of the 2003 bushfires – events that are still seared into the memory of every Canberran living here at the time.

This summer, we don’t need to make much effort to relive those memories, as we’re seeing the same kinds of images over and over again from around Australia, including in the region around us.

It’s disappointing yet unsurprising that at a time of climate emergency, there are those – including the Murdoch press – that seek to distract us all from the urgent need for real climate action before us, by instead making bogus and thoroughly debunked claims blaming “the Greenies” for preventing hazard reduction efforts.

As bushfire expert Professor Ross Bradstock, the director of the Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires at the University of Wollongong, has said, these claims are “very tired and very old conspiracy theories” and are “an obvious attempt to deflect the conversation away from climate change”.

Here in Canberra, we saw the 18 January 2003 fire creating its own weather system – that looming pyrocumulus cloud, the colour of a bruise. We saw small, isolated blazes ignited by lightning join together to create the monster that roared down on our city.

As Canberrans, we’re also uniquely placed to know that the “Greens ban hazard reduction” claim is a lie, because we’ve had a Greens Minister for Territory and Management Services – me – whose role from 2013 to 2016 included overseeing the agencies responsible for the management of fuel loads across the ACT landscape.

This was a practical four-year demonstration of how the Greens approach bushfire risk. Each year, with the expert advice of the agency, we developed and implemented comprehensive fire-related operational works plans. For example, in 2013-14 I oversaw a significant program of burning, slashing and grazing across 20,000 hectares of land in the ACT to help manage the increasing risk of fires.

The overall approach to bushfires in the ACT was – and still is – guided by our Strategic Bushfire Management Plan. We review the plan every five years, in consultation with the community and key stakeholders such as the ACT and NSW Rural Fire Services, rural lessees, traditional custodians and conservationists so that it is guided by the best available experience and knowledge. The knowledge sharing and continual learning through this process is incredibly valuable.

The Plan takes a strategic and long-term approach to managing fuel loads. Different techniques such as slashing, grazing, mowing, physical removal, chemical treatment and prescribed burning are used in different contexts, depending on the physical environment, the proximity to the urban environment and ecological sensitivity.

Good fire management is not just about burning. For example, Namadgi includes areas of rare ‘sphagnum bogs’ that house endangered species and play an important role in the ACT’s drinking water catchment. Obviously places like this require very careful management.

As the ACT Minister for Climate Change, it’s clear to me that bushfire seasons are becoming longer and more severe as the climate changes. There have been countless warnings about the impacts of climate change on bushfire risk, including in Ross Garnaut’s 2008 climate change review that clearly identified the likelihood of experiencing severe impacts from fires from as early as 2020.

Back in 2016, a Climate Council report found that the direct effects of a three to four-degree Celsius temperature increase in the ACT – and we are currently on track for that – could more than double fire frequency and increase fire intensity by 20 per cent.

These increasingly severe fire seasons are terrible for all the reasons we are currently seeing, but to make matters worse, they also make it harder to mitigate and prepare for bushfires. Firefighting is becoming much harder.

As climate change extends the hotter and drier weather, the fire seasons of Australia and the US are starting to overlap. Firefighting resources can no longer be shared between countries as effectively.

The usual off-season between dangerous fire periods is vanishing. Firefighters have less time for all their tasks, including hazard reduction burning, and the opportunity for them to rest is evaporating.

The only solution to these challenges is to embrace the truth and deal with the real threats and challenges, and we should hold our heads high in this city, because we’re doing that. We have experienced severe impacts on our city from fire, and we learned from it.

We’re now world leaders in taking steps to reduce our emissions, doing our part so that hopefully summers like this one won’t someday count as “mild.”

And we know very well that it’s not “tree-huggers” making Australia burn.

Shane Rattenbury is the ACT Greens leader and the ACT’s Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability.

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130 Responses to Rattenbury rebuts claims that “Greens hazard reduction ban” is to blame for blazes
George Watling George Watling 9:24 pm 19 Jun 20

What a bunch of armchair experts. What are you qualifications and experience gentlemen?

rationalobserver rationalobserver 9:20 am 11 Feb 20

If we accept that climate change is leading to more unfavourable fire conditions, and that the window for fuel reduction is reducing, etc, then the obvious question is what else can we modify to mitigate the short to medium term risks?
Climate change actions are decades away from delivering results, at best, and will only slow the change, not reverse it.
The only lever at our disposal are the national parks. These great swathes of heavily forested and inaccessible land is where many fires start, and where pretty much all of them get out of control and become unstoppable.
National Parks must be broken up into smaller, contained and more manageable chunks, with meaningful fire breaks constructed between each chunk. I’m talking 5k – 10k wide fire breaks. This has the added benefit of making targeted hazard reduction burns more achievable within the time available.
Anyone who decries this because of the environmental impact simply needs to consider the alternative; scorched earth from horizon to horizon where the environment is destroyed forever and has zero conservation value.
What’s more important? Innovation in the face of climate change, or sticking steadfastly to an outdated conservation management model for National Parks?
All that is lacking is the political will to actually do something constructive.

    GrumpyMark GrumpyMark 4:13 pm 11 Feb 20

    Credit where credit’s due – I’ve questionned the rationality of your observations in the past, but I think you make some very valid points on this occasion.
    While I believe we need national parks, we do need to look at inaccessibility and the wide spread destruction caused by these large fires, not to mention amount of crap such fires put into the air, because they cannot be contained.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 6:52 pm 11 Feb 20

    I second that.

    astro2 astro2 6:02 pm 11 Feb 20

    Nice idea but I doubt whether it would stack up to any costing model. In smaller countries with less bush it might be more practical but I think you’ll find the sheer extent of Australian bushland would make the idea unworkable.

    rationalobserver rationalobserver 9:15 am 14 Feb 20

    It’s only the national parks you have to worry about. That’s where fires get out of control and become unmanageable. Start somewhere. Topography and proximity would make the easy pickings obvious.

    Spiral Spiral 8:43 pm 11 Feb 20

    My relatives from Gippsland have long claimed that part of the problem caused by the Greens has not been and intentional opposition to hazard reduction burns, but the destruction of almost all activities that had a vested interest in maintaining roads in the forests..

    Recreational users and especially loggers needed the roads and would put effort into maintaining them. Loggers in particular needed roads suitable for trucks.

    Now that our forests are locked up, who maintains the roads?

    Is it any surprise that in many parts of the country our firefighters are finding it increasingly hard to get into the areas to conduct hazard reduction burns?

    chewy14 chewy14 10:38 pm 11 Feb 20

    Great post Rational Observer. One that actually considers the problem, it’s causes and proposes a logical solution to manage the risk.

    Obviously this type of idea would need to be fleshed out further but it’s clear that in some areas, the interface between national parks and their surrounding areas need to be looked at, along with more resources for hazard reduction and actually controlling fires when they start.

Kathleen Shanahan Kathleen Shanahan 9:13 am 11 Feb 20

Self driving cars....does that mean if I am over 85 I can own one if these and because I am not driving I don't need a license anymore so I don't need to do an annual driving test....but I can still get around independently..yay bring it on

    Malcolmo Oz Malcolmo Oz 6:21 pm 11 Feb 20

    Your point (in posting a link to a 2009 news story) being?

tim_c tim_c 12:59 pm 30 Jan 20

I’d always understood the Wilderness Act to be the ‘brain-child’ of the Greens… this Act provides for locking away vast tracts of ‘wilderness’ (often dense forest) and removing the existing fire trails. This means not only are there vast areas where no hazard reduction can occur, but if a fire does occur in one of these areas, it is impossible to access it to fight it while it’s still small – we just have to wait for it to arrive at the urban interface, by which time it is big enough to travel with unstoppable momentum (and heat), “creating its own weather conditions”. One has to wonder why the fire trails were put there in the first place, and so named…

    rationalobserver rationalobserver 11:55 am 03 Feb 20

    tim_c they can’t go putting back the fire trails because then the public will want to start using what really is theirs for things like 4wd trips, and when they do that they will observe for themselves not only the vast areas of devastation from the fires, but the blackberry choked gullies and feral animals making a mockery of the term “wilderness”.
    Nothing to see here, move along.

stevew77 stevew77 2:14 pm 23 Jan 20

Eucalypts drop about 10 tonnes of debris per acre per year according to CSIRO.
Eucalyptus dried wood on the ground has the same BTU output as brown coal, when it burns. Thats a lot of heat.
Now image 10 years of no hazard reduction burning to remove fuel build up.
Any rational person would expect any fire going trhough is going to burn hot and very fast with approx 100 ( 10 ton x 10 years ) tons of very dry fuel per acre to burn.
Its not rocket science.

    astro2 astro2 10:00 pm 30 Jan 20

    1) Neither the Liberal Party, Greens Party, ALP or the Nationals oppose hazard reduction burning.
    2) Where less hazard reduction burning has taken place in any given year, the reasons why, according to the RFS, are because of a shorter season in which hazard reduction burning may be safely undertaken. These shorter ‘safe’ seasons are due to the impact of climate change.

    stevew77 stevew77 10:25 pm 09 Feb 20

    Every bushfire enquiry since 1939 had advocated burning a certain % of land, but the quotas are never net.

    As a result, we have huge fires like recently. Ask any south coast resident who can tell you not enough burning has been done and look at the result.

    Its about not ticking off the snowflakes who moan about the smoke but squeal the loudest when thier house burns down…..

    To make omlettes you need to break a few eggs..

    The class actions against councils and govt for not doing enough hazard reduction burning are now starting. Good. Throw a few idiots in jail for endangering whole communities lives and the precedent will be set.

    astro2 astro2 10:05 pm 11 Feb 20

    Steve, if only it was as simple as just saying Let’s hazard burn X% of bushland and everything will be fine. Except when the conditions aren’t favourable for hazard burning (as they frequently are with the impacts of climate change, then you are risking properties and lives by hazard burning when not safe to do so. Ask south coast residents who know how dry and exceptionally warm conditions have been, climate change leading to worse bushfire seasons as forecast.

    chewy14 chewy14 7:45 pm 12 Feb 20

    The issue has almost nothing to do with not having enough time to conduct hazard reduction burns.

    It’s about having the resources to conduct them and not having people complain to stop them and the government capitulating to pressure.

    When people have said it’s difficult to conduct the amount of hazard reduction required, what they actually mean is it’s difficult with current resources (a large proportion of which are volunteers).

    Almost every inquiry looking at this in the last few decades has recommended vastly increased hazard reduction areas should be burnt.

    Unfortunately, governments don’t want to fork out the extra cash, trying to solely rely on volunteers. Along with this, there are large portions of the population who don’t like hazard reduction burns at all because of the temporary loss of amenity due to localised smoke and air quality issues as well as environmental concerns.

    To blame climate change for this is a cop out

Maddison Farrawell Maddison Farrawell 8:36 pm 22 Jan 20


astro2 astro2 8:24 pm 22 Jan 20

John McAvoy, if you are making a claim that “the greens party” somehow changed “the environmental act” you need to do a bit more research, i.e. what acts are you referring to and how did they change them. Otherwise it’s just another false claim. The point of the article was that it rebutted the claim.

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 9:44 pm 21 Jan 20

“The usual off-season between dangerous fire periods is vanishing. Firefighters have less time for all their tasks, including hazard reduction burning, and the opportunity for them to rest is evaporating.

The only solution to these challenges is to embrace the truth and deal with the real threats and challenges,”

Defining, and dealing with “the real threats and challenges” may be where this line of argument gets a bit lost.

The air quality (or lack of it) index, which was given prominence when the worst of the bushfire smoke made Canberra the most air-polluted city in the world, was also a reminder that cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Mumbai and Delhi are near the top of that list all the time, not just during a temporary crisis. Those cities are home to some of the most powerful people in the world, leading, as they do, about one third of humanity and with (particularly in the case of the Chinese) almost unlimited financial, scientific and technological resources at their disposal. And yet they are not rushing to embrace “the urgent need for real climate action” even though they, their families and peers live daily with very serious environmental pollution –


So rather than pretending “that hopefully summers like this one won’t someday count as mild” – as long as plucky little Canberra keeps doing stuff about carbon emissions – we should be facing the international reality (not fantasising that we can change it) and looking much, much harder at hazard reduction and related issues which are within our control.

    astro2 astro2 6:06 pm 11 Feb 20

    The problem with the claim that ‘China and India’ are doing nothing about climate change is that it’s easily debunked and shows lack of knowledge about international fora around climate change initiatives. So “plucky little Canberra doing it’s bit” is actually contributing to international initiatives on mitigating the impacts of climate change. I think you’ll find that ultimately that’s the only way forward, notwithstanding that we must also implement adaptation measures for the impacts already occurring.

Acton Acton 8:19 pm 21 Jan 20

If Mr Rattenbury wants to argue that the Greens have not hindered hazard reduction burns, as is widely suspected, then he should provide facts and statistics to support his case. What is needed, but which is strangely absent from this piece, is independent verifiable evidence of ACT hectares of hazard reduction burning conducted in 2018-19, compared with (say) ten years ago. Has it increased or decreased?

    astro2 astro2 8:26 pm 22 Jan 20

    I’m afraid. Acton, that your claim of what may be “widely suspected” is about as wide as a news corp echo chamber of dwindling deniers. The rest of Australia understands the science

    JC JC 7:07 pm 30 Jan 20

    Thought we lived in a society where the onus of proof was on those making accusations not those defending themselves.

    So how about providing some facts to support the claims.

    rationalobserver rationalobserver 9:25 am 14 Feb 20

    Here’s a fun fact JC. Prior to 2:30 am on 8th November 2019 (look up the change log), Green policy was against hazard reduction burns. This fire season they must have been feeling the heat (pun intended) and decided they were not on a winner, and so changed it. Having manned a number of fire evacuation centres this year, I can tell you anyone walking in wearing a greens tshirt was in for a very torrid time.
    Since the change, it has often been claimed by greens apologists such as yourself that greens policy supports HRD’s. It does now. It didn’t before now. Apology accepted.

Keran Niquet Keran Niquet 2:06 pm 21 Jan 20

What planet is he on?

Phillip Scharf Phillip Scharf 12:38 pm 21 Jan 20

The article is correct but totally misleading as it is green activists (in lieu of the Greens political party) that have on some occasions prevented land management practices.

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 12:57 pm 21 Jan 20

    I've only seen evidence of one occasion.

    And Alan Jones opposed a coal mine once, but not because he is a "green activist", but because of NIMBYism.

    Phillip Scharf Phillip Scharf 1:07 pm 21 Jan 20

    Peter Marshall yeh totally hence "on some occasions". I did like the initial article though as it is really looking at what we should be doing given the changing climate. Trying to deal with this issue as a matter of solving anthropogenic global warming is such a farce and possibly the most ineffective thing we can do for bushfire risk reduction.

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 2:36 pm 21 Jan 20

    It may well be 30 years too late, but in that case should also be prosecuting or suing the climate criminals.

    And we can still make the change in the climate less bad than it could be if we continue to do nothing.

    Phillip Scharf Phillip Scharf 2:43 pm 21 Jan 20

    Peter Marshall the climate criminals? why not the people that have a direct and tangible influence on the outcome, how come they get to walk free? Why are you chasing something that in the words of experts only has an indirect link? That's like blaming a gun retailer for murder.

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 2:46 pm 21 Jan 20

    There is a direct link between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. And a direct link between climate change and the frequency and intensity of bushfires.

    If the gun retailer knowingly sells a firearm and ammunition to a violent person, maybe your metaphor would work.

    Phillip Scharf Phillip Scharf 3:13 pm 21 Jan 20

    Peter Marshall If you know of a direct link between greenhouse gasses and climate change than you should claim the $10,000 prize that was offered many years ago. Other than people pointing at graphs and saying it got hotter there is no cause and effect evidence to support your first notion. We did initially take this concept at the hypothesis stage just encase but it has never made it to scientific theory.

    Then let's look at your next statement as you’ve missed a step, there is an indirect link between climate change and droughts which follows to a direct link between droughts and the frequency of fires. How did you distil that down to a direct link based on an indirect second-hand relationship?

    Then you throw in intensity? Come on man I know you are a firefighter from our previous discussions, do you really think that an increase of 20 degrees ambient temperature makes a difference to something that burns in excess of a thousand degrees. Dry fuel increases the chance of ignition but that does not insinuate intensity.

    Please answer me this, why are you so hell-bent on chasing a third-hand indirect relationship when there is a direct and tangible solution?

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 5:33 pm 21 Jan 20

    Answer me this - why do you think you're smarter then the world's climate scientists? I'm not hellbent on anything - I just listen to experts. Because I am humble about my own limitations.

    Phillip Scharf Phillip Scharf 9:40 pm 21 Jan 20

    Peter Marshall I don't think I'm smarter than the world's climate scientists, they are the ones that I get my information from in lieu of the Guardian. If you look past the slanderous libel that "denial" scientists endure they make a lot more sense and have empirical evidence to back up their thoughts unlike the classic alarmist narrative.

    I'm also hell bent on making sure there is a world for my son and daughter. While there is a bit of truth to the classic alarmist narrative it is mostly built on a very shaky foundation that is crumbling hard and fast.

    My real concern is that when the poo rises to the surface the baby will be thrown out with the bathwater as is the case with these fires.

    I was flabbergasted when Stenhouse's 2013 paper which identified that half of American meteorologist think it's a sham was referenced as agreeing with the consensus. Cook in his paper actually cites it as 100% in agreeance... wtf? Metrological studies are one of the core climate sciences!? Don't trust me though as you can read those papers at your leisure. I'd also recommend looking into the work of Lindzen as he is probably as close to the edge as it gets or Willie Soon because that guy is actually entertaining.

    So, back to you, why do you think reducing greenhouse gases so that we might reduce climate variation so we can potentially reduce the impact of droughts which will reduce the likelihood of bushfires ignition is better approach to managing bushfires over correctly resourcing land management practices?

grim123 grim123 11:30 am 21 Jan 20

So the former greens candidate, Jill Redwood, and her cronies in East Gippsland didn’t prevent hazard reduction burns?

Jonathan Clarke Jonathan Clarke 11:23 am 21 Jan 20

Here is the official policy of the ACT Greens: "In line with the evidence and expertise from scientists, ecologists and emergency service personnel, the Greens also support hazard reduction burns and backburning to reduce the impact of wildfire." https://greens.org.au/act/news/bushfire-emergency

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 11:46 am 21 Jan 20

    Stop bothering trolls with facts, Jonathan.

    Jonathan Clarke Jonathan Clarke 11:47 am 21 Jan 20

    Peter Marshall It's not the trolls I am interested in, but people who might be mislead by them.

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 11:50 am 21 Jan 20

    No-one is misled by them. Some people just choose to lie.

    Jonathan Clarke Jonathan Clarke 1:45 pm 21 Jan 20

    Peter Marshall In my experience quite a few people get mislead by reading such statements and then repeat them. Let those who have never posted an incorrect statement on FB throw the first stone ;)

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 2:34 pm 21 Jan 20

    I can be chief stonechucker then! Not that I would want to be. Can we come up with a less violent metaphor?

Peter Mackay Peter Mackay 9:55 am 21 Jan 20

He’s just trying to avoid people blaming him for the tram.

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 10:28 am 21 Jan 20

    Did it start a fire?

    Julia Raine Julia Raine 12:32 pm 21 Jan 20

    Peter Mackay you mean take credit for this successful Govt infrastructure program?

    Peter Mackay Peter Mackay 1:30 pm 21 Jan 20

    Julia Raine No. I think it’s an embarrassment in this century.

    Julia Raine Julia Raine 1:40 pm 21 Jan 20

    Peter Mackay you can feel whatever you like - despite the naysayers, its actually turned out to be a great success

    Peter Mackay Peter Mackay 2:21 pm 21 Jan 20

    Julia Raine Do tell? What informs your thinking?

    Julia Raine Julia Raine 3:23 pm 21 Jan 20

    reality, i think its even surprised the Govt how popular its become.

    Peter Mackay Peter Mackay 3:25 pm 21 Jan 20

    Julia Raine So, just your own observations? No facts that someone looking for information might consult?

    Julia Raine Julia Raine 6:34 pm 21 Jan 20

    Peter Mackay google it yourself, it’s all out there for inquisitive minds like yours

    Julia Raine Julia Raine 6:39 pm 21 Jan 20

    Peter Mackay btw this isn’t a climate change discussion, just a tram 😂

    Peter Mackay Peter Mackay 7:46 pm 21 Jan 20

    Julia Raine If you don’t have any facts to share, that’s okay. Whole religions operate on the same basis. Faith is real, and who am I to attack your religious views?

    Malcolm Street Malcolm Street 12:05 pm 22 Jan 20

    Peter Mackay - what would you prefer and would you say the same about the new light rail systems in Newcastle, Sydney and the Gold Coast.

    Peter Mackay Peter Mackay 12:32 pm 22 Jan 20

    Malcolm Street I think trams are an old solution to a problem that every city faces and will face. I think that long before Canberra has paid off the huge cost, we are going to have self-driving vehicles providing a better and cheaper system.

    Why take the tram, why own an expensive car, if you can call up a vehicle that provides free wifi and takes you from your door to your work's door for less than the cost of a bus ticket? And quicker.

    People aren’t stupid. They use a better system when it arrives. You're trying to sell video cassettes in an age of streaming.

    Sean Kinmonth Sean Kinmonth 10:08 pm 22 Jan 20

    Peter Mackay do tell were your information for self driving cars being implemented before the trams are paid off comes from? Nice of you to expect things from others which you don't provide. How much is it going to cost to use a self driving vehicle and why do we need to wait for them cant we just use a taxi or a ride hailing service to do that now. Also during peak hour aren't all the roads going to be clogged with people in self driving cars?maybe they should pool together and ride in mass transport in something say like a tram? I think self driving vehicles are an old solution we should just use teleportation 🙄

    Peter Mackay Peter Mackay 2:02 am 23 Jan 20

    Sean Kinmonth Think about it. Self-driving vehicles are on Australian roads right now, and every year there are more of them and they get better and better. Curiosities and toys right now, but the systems get more advanced and practical every year.

    If we accept that a self-driving electric vehicle has the same TCO as a large family sedan, of about $250 a week, then they can be run 24/7 charging a dollar a ride and make a 50% profit.

    Simple economics pushes every other mode of urban transport aside.

    You say the roads will be clogged, but self-driving vehicles will be able to make more effective use of the roads. They can do their own pooling, forming chains of vehicles travelling as one without needing to stop or even slow down.

    As the chains approach their various destinations, individual vehicles disengage and take the own routes to individual destinations.

    When demand drops, vehicles can head off for recharging and maintenance. Unlike our current parking garages where we need to cater for human access, self-driving vehicles can be packed in bumper to bumper, door to door in areas only a little higher than their roofline.

    What is holding back taxis and Ubers is the need for a human driver who has to be paid, and has to maintain human-level safety factors based on human reactions and human processing power.

    Look at where Uber and the other companies are putting their effort. It certainly isn’t going into driver training. It’s going into replacing drivers entirely.

    Open your eyes and inform yourself. Robot cars don’t mean that the car drives the owner to work.

    It means that nobody needs to own a car. Or a garage. Or have a drivers licence or insurance.

    The only people needing their own vehicles will be tradies and similar.

    Sean Kinmonth Sean Kinmonth 10:40 pm 10 Feb 20

    Peter Mackay sounds awesome and don't get me wrong I want self driving cars but you are kidding yourself if you think they are going to be as sophisticated and as cheap as you are saying within the next 40 years or even more when you talk about legislation approving them. I want a Tesla but I wouldn't spend the money on the self driving feature that Elon Musk was saying would be in place back in 2018.

    If there are no more car parks in the congested cities then there are going to be more buildings for people to occupy which means higher density and more people. You still need mass transport as that makes more effective use of the transit routes than cars taking maybe 1 or 2 people. If people are not going to own cars then who is. Companies and they are going to make more money squeezing people in to larger vehicles to make more profit. Always bet on self interest.

    Don't waste today dreaming of a future that might never come in our lifetime be realistic and realise the trams will be paid off well before the future you dream of is here.

    Peter Mackay Peter Mackay 4:11 am 11 Feb 20

    Sean Kinmonth You need to study the subject. You sound like those chaps who thought that there would never be more than a half dozen computers in the world and explained their logic.

    The world is changing faster each year, and there are more clever people making a lot of money doing it than you can keep up with in your understanding.

    No offence, but these things are on the way, and you’d best get used to it.

Russell Nankervis Russell Nankervis 9:10 am 21 Jan 20

People still believe the Greens dislike back burning and hazard reduction?

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 10:25 am 21 Jan 20

    No, of course they don't. They just lie about it to distract from climate change and economic rationalism.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:13 am 21 Jan 20

While it may not have been the Greens per se who prevented fuel buildup in NSW national parks, the personal green policies of the former NSW Bob Carr would appear to have helped.

Note this is an article from Fairfax, not Murdoch.

    astro2 astro2 8:33 pm 22 Jan 20

    Who authored the article? Doesn’t appear to have a name. Wonder why.? Something to think about.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:26 am 24 Jan 20

    You really are a forensic one astro2 and there’s nothing wrong with that. The article appears to have been in the National SMH section and there is a note that Alan Ramsay was on leave. Given that Ramsay (now retired) was a rusted on lefty (there were very few that were not lefties at Faifax), it doesn’t appear to have been written by him though but does that matter? I can remember clearly similar comments at the time. When you finish thinking about it how about a comment one way or the other.

    astro2 astro2 10:08 pm 30 Jan 20

    Hmm, so no source to the article then; other than it wasn’t Alan Ramsay. Perhaps try posting attributable sources next time.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 6:56 pm 11 Feb 20

    The SMH are a reliable source so don’t try and spin your way out of this.

    rationalobserver rationalobserver 7:33 pm 23 Jan 20

    That was the start down the slippery slope. Greatly increase the area under NPWS management for political reasons, fail to match that with appropriate funding and resources to achieve the stated objective of “conservation”, End result is great slabs of country burn beyond recovery, many creatures of all descriptions dead and injured, and bulk personal trauma. Vote green? well you got what you asked for.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 2:51 pm 24 Jan 20


    astro2 astro2 10:12 pm 30 Jan 20

    Well, no actually as it is quite clear that the Greens don’t oppose hazard reduction burns. It seems that many people voted Nationals who have no drought or climate change policy and are now suffering the effects. You ignore the science of climate change at your peril it seems.

Jim Jim Jim Jim 12:27 am 21 Jan 20

Debunk this picture and there’s plenty more around. Must be them anticlimactic change people that do these there protestings. Gimme a break I’ve seen protests by Green supporters on the south coast. To suggest the Greens don’t influence this stuff is rubbish. They’re in bed with every Labor Government past and present.

    Rob Thomas Rob Thomas 1:36 am 21 Jan 20

    Debunk the picture? What, prove it doesn't exist? Or to you mean prove that government isn't swayed by a dozen people waving placards around? And the rest of your ramble is a pile of 'I reckons' and your own biases taped together.

    Still super glued to all this is theory the bushfires were not severe this year because of climate change, but because of those evil greenies and the ultimate power they apparently have over government.

    So to debunk that - here's so-called 'expert' Shane Fitzsimmons, commissioner of NSW RFS explaining to that clearly-biased left wing publication - the Daily Mail - that environmental laws did not hold back controlled burning.


    Jim Jim Jim Jim 6:20 am 21 Jan 20

    Rob Thomas try mismanagement of fuel loads before you over intellectualise it and include climate change. Yes yes we affect the planet. But it’s pretty simple you can’t have a fire without fuel...Also reread my post. The Greens influence Labor governments so don’t strawman my points.

    Paul South Paul South 6:54 am 21 Jan 20

    Jim Hosie yep .. the city centric voter with little or no understanding of anything practical.

    Jill Lyall Jill Lyall 7:36 am 21 Jan 20

    Jim Hosie indiscriminate and ill timed burning is also mismanagement

    Kel Jackson Kel Jackson 8:05 am 21 Jan 20

    Imagine how magical that must be to change government policy at all levels, just by standing at the side of the road...

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 8:31 am 21 Jan 20

    "There's plenty more around" writes person posting the only photo anyone ever posts.

    I'm a Green, a firefighter and I do HRs. What about you?

    Jim Jim Jim Jim 9:07 am 21 Jan 20

    Paul South what you mean without fuel you don’t have fire? Simple enough for you? If you manage the fuel load you reduce the risk?

    Russell Nankervis Russell Nankervis 9:08 am 21 Jan 20

    Not a single one of them is representing the Greens. It is also 1 picture of a small group of people. West Borough Baptist church protests with that many people but I doubt they have any sway as well

    Jim Jim Jim Jim 9:09 am 21 Jan 20

    Jill Lyall no fuel management causes bushfires...

    Jim Jim Jim Jim 9:10 am 21 Jan 20

    Kel Jackson and pretty much all the state and territory governments have been Labor...and the Greens are in the ear of every single one to often provide support or balance of power. Let’s not downplay their influence. It’s no different to the Libs and the Nats.

    Jim Jim Jim Jim 9:13 am 21 Jan 20

    Peter Marshall go look yourself rather than suggesting my single post is all that represents this fact. As a Green you’re probably conflicted between ducking for cover about their policies and being a firery where you are taught in basic training that fire needs fuel to burn. If fuel loads are high risk increases. It’s not rocket science.

    Jim Jim Jim Jim 9:25 am 21 Jan 20

    Peter Marshall maybe read what your colleagues think...


    Jim Jim Jim Jim 9:31 am 21 Jan 20

    Drew Reis

    Here’s one for you which ‘eloquently’ explains it more simply...even cites ‘climate change’ as a reason NOT to do burn offs lol. Oh and look where it is...less fuel load less risk, don’t over think it.

    Jim Jim Jim Jim 9:57 am 21 Jan 20

    Drew Reis summarise it for me.

    Jim Jim Jim Jim 10:13 am 21 Jan 20

    Drew Reis ignorance would be wasting my life watching your drivel so why would I want to get back to you? If you can’t succinctly post about its content you don’t know it well enough yourself.

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 10:25 am 21 Jan 20

    The VFFA President is a prominent member of the Shooters Party. He does not speak for me, nor for many firefighters.

    Try again.

    Jim Jim Jim Jim 10:32 am 21 Jan 20

    Peter Marshall but clearly enough to be president and you’re a Greenie. Try again

    Jim Jim Jim Jim 10:34 am 21 Jan 20

    Drew Reis I’m calling out BS. LMAO at agenda 21 and that relates to reducing fuel loads to lessen bushfires in what way exactly?

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 11:52 am 21 Jan 20

    president of an Association that refuses to disclose it's membership numbers Him and a few mates?

    I am 100% proud of Greens policies on climate change and managing National Parks and bushfire risk. Because I know them, rather than lie about them.

    Have I met you on a fireground, or are you one of those armchair experts?

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 11:53 am 21 Jan 20

    Still waiting for more photos, by the way... Ones which actually identify the people in them as Greens, and not nimbies. Alan Jones opposed a coal mine once. Is he a Greeny?

    Jim Jim Jim Jim 12:07 pm 21 Jan 20

    Peter Marshall keep up, look above there’s an ABC post I’ve shared covering this...

    Jim Jim Jim Jim 12:08 pm 21 Jan 20

    Drew Reis you’re only schooling me in stupidity.

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 12:09 pm 21 Jan 20

    The same incident. And a screenshot is not a photograph.

    Keep trying.

    Jim Jim Jim Jim 12:10 pm 21 Jan 20

    Peter Marshall you’re obviously a spokesperson for what fire department exactly? None. Don’t be salty at your president’s comments being the opposite of your Green propaganda.

    Phillip Scharf Phillip Scharf 12:11 pm 21 Jan 20

    Jim Hosie this is just highlighting the problem that one half of the conversation is talking about the Greens as in the political party and the other half of the conversation is referring to green activist groups.

    Jim Jim Jim Jim 12:12 pm 21 Jan 20

    Phillip Scharf one and the same.

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 12:13 pm 21 Jan 20

    I'm not "obviously"" any such thing. Do you know what words mean?

    I am a long-term volunteer in the NSW RFS. The NSW RFS has a public position that accepts the science of anthropogenic climate change, and the impact it has on bushfire behaviour and the conduct of hazard reduction burns. It has had that public position for more than 5 years. But some armchair expert who's never been on a fire truck knows better.


    Phillip Scharf Phillip Scharf 12:27 pm 21 Jan 20

    Peter Marshall and what about this guy? https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/doomed-planet/2020/01/an-inferno-of-incompetence-and-obfuscation/ in consideration that the climate is changing, land management would be even more important. Do you realise that public servants go to jail for this kind of incompetence? Look who is pushing this as a climate change issue...

    Phillip Scharf Phillip Scharf 12:29 pm 21 Jan 20

    Peter Marshall I like that

    Phillip Scharf Phillip Scharf 12:32 pm 21 Jan 20

    Peter Marshall I like that ABC article but it just highlights that more resources are required. A shrinking window does not mean that the work just goes away. Even then land management is more than hazard reduction burns, they are just one arrow in the quiver.

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 12:37 pm 21 Jan 20

    Quadrant! That right wing rag?

    "Roger Underwood is a former district an regional forester in Western Australia with over 60 years experience in bushfire science, planning and operations"

    How old is he? And I see their subeditors can't tell the difference between "an" and "and"...

    Look, you can even find some climate scientists who don't accept anthropogenic climate change. But they are a tiny tiny percentage. Don't you right-whingers understand numbers?

    Andrew Dudley Andrew Dudley 1:57 pm 21 Jan 20

    Jim Hosie I scrolled all the way to the bottom of this thread and still only one picture. Fake news.

    Jim Jim Jim Jim 3:25 pm 21 Jan 20

    Andrew Dudley clearly you don’t read when you scroll. Reread what I posted with that ABC post, it doesn’t get any clearer lol.

    Jim Jim Jim Jim 3:28 pm 21 Jan 20

    Peter Marshall and where have I posted denying climate change? I posted about fuel reduction yet you feel totally compelled to go off tangent and start up your engine about climate change? Typical of Greens.

    Jim Jim Jim Jim 3:32 pm 21 Jan 20

    Peter Marshall using your own logic so then as a volunteer you should listen to your president because his peers have chosen him over you as an expert.

    Ashley Latimer Ashley Latimer 9:41 pm 21 Jan 20

    Jim Hosie whilst I can't debunk your picture with literally zero context (Are they even Australian?) I can debunk the idea that the Greens are responsible: https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/nov/12/is-there-really-a-green-conspiracy-to-stop-bushfire-hazard-reduction

    Ashley Latimer Ashley Latimer 9:44 pm 21 Jan 20

    Jim Hosie also, are you dense? As long as trees and grass exist, there's going to be fuel.

    Jim Jim Jim Jim 12:00 am 22 Jan 20

    Ashley Latimer yes thank you Ashley that’s my exact point lol

    Ashley Latimer Ashley Latimer 8:45 am 22 Jan 20

    Jim Hosie no, your point is that 'The Greens don't allow back burning' which is completely false. Your argument is that if back burning was allowed (which it is) then there would be minimized fire danger. Not to mention The Greens aren't even in Government.

    Dead fuel is regularly removed when the conditions allow for it, and The Greens completely support hazard reduction burns. They haven't stopped anyone from doing anything. Would you prefer we have no trees or grass? Because that's precisely what it sounds like you're advocating.

    Andrew Dudley Andrew Dudley 9:26 am 22 Jan 20

    Jim Hosie you are fake news. Post the pictures, you said they exist so prove it otherwise I’m taking everything you’ve said here with a grain of salt and everyone in this thread will see you are lying.

    Just post the pictures here and I’m on board mate 👇

    Malcolm Street Malcolm Street 12:03 pm 22 Jan 20

    Jim Hosie - the VFFA won't even disclose its numbers. It has nil credibility among mainstream firefighters.

    Jim Jim Jim Jim 4:15 pm 22 Jan 20

    Malcolm Street try Google 😉 and as I said reread my post.

    Matthew Soall Matthew Soall 7:24 pm 22 Jan 20

    Jim Hosie I was RFS mate, RFS can do hazard reduction as required without government approval. This year we had a very little window to do those burns. RFS asked every government, state and federal to increase funding for our water bombing fleet and they all said no. Don't turn it into a political issue when every party said no.

Ray Ez Ray Ez 12:24 am 21 Jan 20

So in other words: so true that I shat myself but have sufficient denyability so that if you find out, someone else is to blame!

rationalobserver rationalobserver 9:05 pm 20 Jan 20

Did you get Scotty from marketing to write this for you?
Stop using the drought as an excuse for pushing ideology.
If you can’t control fires in the park, then reduce the size of the park to align with available resources and windows of opportunity.

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