18.9 C
Byron Shire
March 2, 2021

Over 15,000 cases of illegal fire activity ignored by authorities

Latest News

Hospital staff want to park for free while they work

It seems that Lismore Base isn’t the only hospital whose workers would like to park their cars for free while they work.

Other News

Interview with Michael Balson, creator of Ocean to Sky

Local filmmaker helps tell the story of Edmund Hillary’s last adventure, in the film, Ocean to Sky

Sing Lisa Sing

Jo Faith, Newtown How very distressing is the recent story of beautiful singer Lisa Hunt. She followed protocol, paid the...

Community bar – not

Liz Levy, Suffolk Park I couldn’t believe what I was reading in The Echo: a plan to turn an ‘iconic’...

Mt Warning ban

Chris Gee, Byron Bay Indigenous readers be advised that the following letter contains references to persons deceased. I read with some...

Bringing down the heat in our ‘hood

How well we survive the future depends on our vision for our towns and suburbs – and on how we bring that vision about.

Police looking for missing Pottsville woman

Police say they are seeking public assistance to locate a woman missing from Pottsville for almost a week.

With the smoke still rising from the summer bushfires, Greens MP David Shoebridge says there have been less than a dozen prosecutions of landowners in the past decade despite over 15,000 incidents of out of control hazard reduction burns, escaping fires and other reckless fire management on properties.

These are serious offences under the Rural Fires Act which attract penalties of up to 7 years imprisonment and fines of $132,000, yet only a handful of prosecutions have been undertaken.

Mr Shoebridge says figures show that the number of out of control burns is increasing each year with 2,814 in 2019 up from just 338 in 2010. ‘It is hard to understand why this government is so unwilling to enforce the law, especially when we know that illegal burning by landowners has been a major source of large scale bush fires.

The numbers don’t lie

‘These numbers don’t lie, when there is only one prosecution for every 2,000 unlawful burns then the law becomes a joke, and it greenlights illegal burning by landowners.

Mr Shoebridge says that of course there will be cases where desperate last-minute backburns were essential to save life and property, but this can hardly be the case for the thousands of escaped fires that the authorities have on the record.

‘You can see as the number of illegal fires has climbed each year how the lack of enforcement has led to more fires starting and more of them escaping.

‘We’ve heard from a number of fire crews who were placed at direct risk because of unapproved burns by reckless landowners.

‘When a teenager starts a grass fire then politicians call for harsh penalties, but when landowners do the exact same thing there is silence.

Mr Shoebridge says it may be politically convenient for the Liberal Government to focus on teenage arsonists but there is a real issue here of illegal burning by landowners that needs to be addressed.

‘One of the major focuses of the current inquiry must be the role that illegal burning by landowners has played in these dreadful fires, and whether or not the state government has been complicit in this practice’.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

5 COMMENTS

  1. As if farmers aren’t doing it hard enough already without being persecuted by this Greens politician, go and do something useful Mr Shoebridge like tackling plastic pollution.

  2. Hi Anton….so you think if you’re doing it hard enough already you should be exempt from sensible fire regulations

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

International Women’s Day kerfuffle at Ballina

One councillor walked out of Ballina Council's recent meeting during an emotional discussion about speakers at an upcoming IWD event.

Croquet club gets new turf as it prepares to host NSW championship

The Byron Bay Croquet Club is ready for another big year that includes new turf, hosting a state championship and building on last year’s membership growth.

Ahoy m’hearties young and old in Bangalow

‘Ahoy m’hearties’ was the catchcry at Bangalow Parklands on Saturday afternoon during the Connecting Generations Pirate Party.

Blue-green algae amber alert still active at Uki

Last Thursday Tweed Shire Council issued an amber alert for blue-green algae in the Tweed River at Uki, with Clarrie Hall Dam remaining on a green alert. This morning they say the alerts are still active.