Nuff Nuff

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Black Saturday, Royal Commission - Experts, Messperts, - What do they know ‘perts?

I have a vested interest in this topic for many reasons, some of which are contained in this blog. Others are too personal to be written about in the public domain.

The last 24-48 hours has seen so-called experts claiming that places like Marysville (notice they ONLY cite Marysville as the example) should not ever be re-built. My first bone of contention is that Marysville is, was and will not be the only place ever threatened/destroyed by fire.

Other places also affected:-Kinglake, Flowerdale, Bendigo, Narbethong, Strathewen, Steeles Creek, Yarra Glen, Humevale, Wadong, St Andrews, Callignee, Taggerty, Koornalla, Beechworth, Long Gully, Maiden Gully, Redesdale,

I’ve made comment before and I’ll make it again, places closer to the CBD receive more support from the media and social services than those places ‘out of the way’ I know for a fact that several families in the township of Strathewen ONLY see 1 person on a daily basis. Nobody else bothers, because it is too hard and they are forgotten. People in Marysville and no doubt other places are in the same boat, yet Kinglake and Flowerdale get all the accolades for re-building, and fighting etc.

This fire was perhaps a once in 100 year event. Yes lives were lost. Yes, people’s lives have irrevocably been changed. Yes, children have been affected by what they saw. But this trauma has been occurring since man became self-aware. At some point in life we all suffer something that changes us forever; some people suffer more than once.

Experts, like Roz Hansen have been quoted as saying “I was disappointed and somewhat alarmed about allowing those communities to go back and resettle. And I think we've really got our hands full in terms of guaranteeing them their safety in the future, unless we change the major considerations around those areas in terms of bushland setting," [1]

Another ‘expert’, Michael Buxton is quoted as saying “a large scale government buy back should be considered to move people away from areas of unacceptably high bushfire risk.” [2]

These people probably live in the yuppyland, sipping on skinny soy decaf latte with no thought for those that live in these areas, that work in these areas and that put the food on the tables that they eat from. Without people in rural areas, there would be no food, and if this was the case, the Greenies would be screaming blue murder about the emissions caused by the people driving to and from the place of employment because there is no public transport. Isn’t that the rage these days – work, live and play in your local area and source your food from the same area?

People choose to live in these areas and work in these areas, because they like the people, they like the environment, they like the lifestyle. They like having their horses nearby. They like hearing the birds in the morning. They realize the danger, they accept the danger. If a person cannot accept the danger then they shouldn’t live there – that I do agree with. There are dangers living in the suburbs, from assaults, to burglaries, to not knowing your neighbour. In the country there are different dangers, which more often than not, pose less danger to the person and just means you have to be more self-aware.

How dare these so-called experts claim that perhaps for the greater good places (like Marysville) should not be rebuilt.

Other areas in exactly the same position are not mentioned, not even touched upon. Is it only ONCE the devastation occurs that the spotlight is turned on these townships? Had the prescribed back burning been done, then perhaps things would not be so bad. Perhaps if the communication between the fire agencies had been better, things would have been different, perhaps if the people in charge had more experience things would be different. There is little purpose in looking back now, only forward. To dwell on the past means you live in the past.

You can’t change what happened, but neither can you destroy further the lives of the people affected. People need to stop jumping to solutions that won’t work, either in the past, present or the future. Instead offer solutions, like safe havens, like ovals, with water supplies that can never run out, open spaces. Bring back the fire sirens and don’t let the Sunday tourists turn them off. I grew up in Marysville and if the siren sounded, you headed to the oval. The siren could be heard in the valley and all except for Sunday at 10am – you went to the oval, you knew something was happening. You could be out on the horse; you could be at a friend’s place. IF that siren sounded, something was wrong.

Bring back the sirens, bring back the safe havens, stop trying to destroy townships, livelihoods and what people know and accept.

[1] The Age 16th February 2010

[2] The Australian 15th February 2010


mark said...

Agree whole-heartedly with your sentiment and discussions. I do know first hand that government emplyees within Vic Govt's Regional Development Victoria are fully aware of the devestation caused to all affected areas, not just Marysville, unfortunately, the media either havent heard of them or quickly forget who those other towns are.

One thing this government can be accused of is making policy on the run, and this it seems is where these absurd ideas of never repopulating areas affected by these once in 100 year fires stems from.

Part of the Victorian appeal are these small quaint towns, ease of living and the community environment they create. Unfortunately policy makers within ivory towers dont appear to be sympathetic towards these lifestyles and ideals and they cant be controlled or manipulated.

Let Victoria rebuild its towns, let be population get back into these areas to rebuild and most of all, lets keep questioning policy and where it stems from.

It ain't so (most of the time) said...

Thank-you for the support Mark - Glad I am not the only thinking like this.
Without people questioning, they would be steam-rolled into submission. I'm not looking for any different to what was already there. Just fair treatment for areas affected the same others and yet treated so differently

tyabblemons said...

Great article, and I agree wholeheartedly. Residents of high-risk areas must take their own responsibility for living there, but they shouldn't be denied the opportunity.

If we continue with this train of logic, we'd stop everyone driving, and save the lives of hundreds each year! It just isn't practical.

There are ways to manage the risk, and I'm disappointed at the options some of these 'experts' are presenting.

Paul H said...

It's not possible to erase or re-configure 200 years of cultural and historical settlement. Recognising that communities may still be at risk menas that appropriate action & support needs to be initiated and put in place. Given that they are communiities means that consultation MUST occur and the solutions (if they are real solutions) need to come out of the communitiies that are affected.
There is a real need to recognise that pronouncements like the ones coming out from these types of forums have a direct and real impact on these communities; there are consequences to such broad and sweeping statements which must be considered.

It ain't so (most of the time) said...

Paul - you are spot on - you can't just say XYZ IS going to happen. People who live in these communities, people who work in these communities MUST decide for themselves if they choose to remain with the same risks.
Sometimes I feel like I am living Communist Russia, they decide EVEYTHING for you and you don't get a choice.
it HAS TO stop - some people are tied to the area for whatever reasons, some because they can't afford to buy elsewhere, some because that is where they lost family, some because that is where they established their business.
The Government can't just waltz in a say TOUGH - you HAVE TO MOVE OUT.
Australia DOES NOT work that way.
FYI - Marysville was established some 155 years ago (Useless information)
Paul - thank-you for your comments - appreciated a lot.

It ain't so (most of the time) said...

Tyabbmons - solutions don't come from riding shot-gun over residents - it only causes more difficulty for the speaker - with opposition - instead of 'government buy-out' and refusing permits, allow residents to rebuild. Allow 'the old' to return (within reason and new building regulations) BUT DO NOT CLOSE down towns because it's too dangerous. As you stated - we'd better stop selling and repairing cars because they are too dangerous.
Politics and personal gain - that is what this Royal Commission is about - just like 1939 - where I believe over 40 'recommendations' have still to be implemented.

Vivdora said...

The people who suffered and are suffering are the ones who know what is right for them . Before the fires I'd never heard of any of the beautiful places which were burned. They will be beautiful again.
If you wanted to live in houses by the sea where there was Coastal erosion it would be silly to rebuild every time a house fell into the sea. If an area had an avalanche every year you'd be daft to live in their paths.
In NW England there were some dreadful floods recently, a policeman died warning people not to cross a bridge which subsequently collapsed. That area doesn't flood regularly so it is not being abandoned.
It seems that the best thing to do is to allow people to choose and to try to make the area safer with sirens and open spaces and by clearing scrub ( if that's the correct term) .

It ain't so (most of the time) said...

Vivdora - you are so right - every place on earth you live poses one kind of threat or another, for England recently it was flooding, for Australia recently it was bushfires AND flooding (only in AU!)
Like you said it's not as though these fires come through every 2-3 years or even 10 years, most of these areas haven;t seen anything like this since 1939, almost a lifetime.
People need to be more aware of their surroundings to try and prevent tradegy. No matter what the Government does, lives will always be lost, even if there is door knocking, some people won't leave because they CHOOSE to stay. Be aware and alert to your surroundings and take precautions as every fire agency recommends and I myself also recommend. If in doubt GET THE BLOODY HELL OUT. I can't make it any clearer.