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Controlled burn: FOBIF email

Dear Friend of the Box Ironbark Forests,

As we reported on www.fobif.org.au on July 19 and August 13, DEPI has released the latest modification on the fire operations plan for our region. Consultations are invited, preferably before August 31.We strongly urge you to show that the public is closely interested in this program by putting a submission to DEPI, however brief.The plan is a modified version of the one FOBIF members showed great interest in last year. Major differences include the addition of several small parcels slated for Asset Protection Burns close to settlement; and a very large area [490 ha] in the Sandon Forest.

The Government and senior DEPI officials have boasted about their achievement in burning a record area of public land in the last year. The question is: what has all this burning achieved?

DEPI’s Code of Practice says that the Department ‘will make publicly accessible information about…how well bushfire management actions and strategies are achieving the two primary objectives for bushfire management on public land.’ [Page 31: these objectives are human safety and ecological resilience.]

We suggest that you write to the Department:
1. Name a proposed burn either near you or in an area you know well. [A list is below]
2. Quote the Code of Practice as above and ask this question: how will this proposed burn achieve the Department’s objectives of human safety and ecological resilience? When will we be able to see the ‘publicly accessible information’ on these burns?
3. Ask, politely, for specific information about the area in question: otherwise you will get patronising generalities.
4. Send to planned.burning@depi.vic.gov.au and copy it to Damian Drum, MP, at damian.drum@parliament.vic.gov.auDEPI has so far refused to supply any reliable information on its burns to the public. It is important that it be forced to implement its own policy on transparency.We strongly suspect that one reason the Department can’t supply the relevant information is that staff cuts make this impossible. They have plenty of staff to burn the country, but few to do the detailed work to figure out what the fires are actually doing for us. They have been forced so far to hide behind a few flagship research programs elsewhere in Victoria, about
which little information is available.DEPI front line operators are generally cooperative in responding to community concerns. It’s time to pressure their superiors and the Government to be clear about what current policies are doing.

Bernard Slattery
FOBIF Secretary.

CAS 1 AND CAS 2: Most of Mount Tarrengower
CAS 3/7: Kalimna Park: this is a special case, being close to Castlemaine. It is still worth asking how DEPI will go about protecting the special values of this Park.
CAS 10 and 11: Muckleford Forest.
CAS 16: Railway Dam: this is a large area in the Fryers Forest between White Gum Track and the Railway Dam. It is currently being devastated by a second attack of cup moth larvae.
CAS 15: Amanda’s Track [a very large area at the South End of the Diggings Park, near Middleton Creek and Brown’s Gully]
CAS 25 Zig Zag Track [a 490 ha area at the north end of the Sandon State Forest]
CAS 9 AND 16: Pepper Tree Track and Rusconi’s Road [these would almost complete theburning of the Tarilta valley]
CAS 14 AND 17: Taradale State Forest and NCR.

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