I’m not going to pretend I’ve been following all the goings on in the Royal Commission for the last 150 days, I’ve had other things to deal with.
But what I have seen from the media and the transcripts doesn’t make for pretty reading.
One thing that has upset me from the day the fires hit was the removal of the fire refuges, due to public liability issues. The State Government passed this responsibility onto the councils and the councils promptly shut down 99% of the fire refuges, due to public liability issues. When people needed somewhere to turn, there was nowhere.
Then the State Government steps in at the release of the interim report from the Royal Commission and instigates a whole raft of proposals, regulations and rules with little thought for the consequences.
One example was/is the release of the “Code Red” days and warnings and the closing of schools, education centres. Fine in theory – but in real life will not work.
Then there are reports in the media of some councils closing council properties on these declared days in the hope of avoiding responsibility in the case of another fire like Black Saturday.
It is now 18 months after the fact, there has been no real change in protection of the communities previously affected, nor those that weren’t affected, but need protection.
In 18 months, a Royal Commission started by the State Government, has now become a ball and chain for the Labor State Government and possibly the Federal Government, especially with the election looming on the horizon.
People that they placed in command that day have openly lied about their whereabouts on that fateful day. How could a serving member forget their whereabouts on a day now labeled the worse in Victoria’s History?
I’m sure if you think back you could remember where you were and what you did. Given 20 years things may be different, but 18 months after the fact the memory will still be fresh. So explain how someone so heavily involved could forget?
Then there is the lost fire path prediction maps – thrown out by the cleaners? – I don’t think so.
The half-arsed CFA pager system – No wonder the CFA volunteers were struggling. Between the metropolitan digital system and the analogue country system. They had no chance.
Until recently (like April 2010) there was an open URL that could be used to trace all the CFA pager messages that went out from the search and rescue messages, to road accidents, out of control fires, to admin messages advising where keys were located for stations. I’m not sure who else was aware of this ‘leak’ but it got patched once the CFA pager problems were made public. That URL had been operational since March 2009 that I am personally aware of – as I am the person who located it.
The Royal Commission has resulted in many people in many areas falling into self-protection mode and not telling the WHOLE truth for fear of retribution, be it from their bosses or the public. A public office position is highly coveted and thus many people will forgo morals and ethics in favour of public opinion or they will do as they are told by those higher than themselves.
I foretell now that many recommendations put forward by the Royal Commission into the fires of February 2009, will not be implemented, just as the Royal Commission into the fires in 1939, sees many recommendations not implemented today, some 70 years later.
Therefore the Government, both State and Local need to step back. An example of a resident trying to do the right thing before the fires. He requested (four) 4 trees be felled and had to pay a fee of $94.00 and was prohibited from removing others from the same block.After the fires the owner was allowed to removed 194. Can anyone see a problem with this? – I know I can. Oh and the removal permit of $94 was also overlooked in the aftermath of the fires. That’s local government for you.
Australians have always liked the bush, therefore many of us choose to live in the bush, amongst nature, amongst the tall trees, amongst the animals. It is OUR responsibility to ensure we are safe, to ensure that we survive, not the governments, not the councils.