13 February 2024.

AgForce believes a full and in-depth review of the consequences of this past summer’s bushfire season is critical. And that a State Parliamentary Inquiry is the best way to provide the investigative rigour required.

It’s the only way we can avoid watching the same mistakes that we saw in 2023/24 from happening again.

We need to listen and learn from those who fought the fires on the ground so that we can prevent bushfires where possible, and otherwise be more successful in managing them.

Preserving Queensland’s landscapes is crucial to managing the biodiversity of our environment and human and animal welfare.

It’s this rich and diverse ecosystem that ensures food security for all Queenslanders in a way not possible in most of the world.  It’s worth protecting. 

And when fires burn out of control in the way that some did during this past summer, that undermines the ability of ecosystems to function and recover.

Such as the bushfire that swept through Carnarvon Gorge where local Rural Fire Brigades battled the fires alongside National Parks and paid QFES and QRFS staff. Carnarvon should not have burnt with the intensity it did, and the State Government must recognise the need to increase resourcing of our national parks to prevent these fires, and better manage pests and weeds. The national park itself will suffer for a couple of years as a tourist attraction because of the severity and extent of that fire. 

Reflections on this and other ferocious fires through the Southern Downs provide a rich learning opportunity, and AgForce is urging the Queensland government to not let it pass.

The current whispers of legislative change in QFES and short timeframes for responses from a select number of stakeholders reeks of secrecy and protectionism, and is hampering constructive changes that need to be made.

There’s a real chance for improvement if we are prepared to genuinely and formally take part in a comprehensive review, and then properly reflect on those learnings with reinvigorated policy.