Thursday, May 27, 2010

Not on the same page(r)

I levelled yesterday’s rant – sorry, post – at Australia’s Federal Government. Today I take aim at the Victorian State Government. Black Saturday – the most apocalyptic bushfire day in Australia’s history – was on 7 February 2009, i.e. 473 days ago [1]. The inevitable resultant Royal Commission began on 20 April 2009, i.e. 401 days ago [2]. And still, reportedly, Victoria’s Country Fire Authority brigades remain not just under-resourced, but lacking basic equipment including functioning pagers [3a, 3b]. What use is a well-trained firefighter who’s not fighting fires because of pager issues? The Minister responsible (N.B. not necessarily the responsible minister) is Emergency Services Minister Bob Cameron. Said Education Minister Bronwyn Pike [4] (pictured) – to her and her government’s shame – the issues are being ‘worked through’. Not good enough, Minister. The public at large, especially people in fire-prone areas, don’t want endless inquiries and insouciant and peremptory ministerial pettifogging. Rather, they want action. Appropriate and immediate action. Each year the government coughs up over A$50M to underwrite the loss the facile and crass Australian F1 Grand Prix racks up. How far would A$50M go to upgrade CFA equipment? Far further than a F1 race, I reckon. And that’s but one year of government F1 profligacy.

P.S. I’m blessed to be a volunteer firefighter in the Tasmanian Fire Service whose brigades are all well, but not extravagantly, resourced to do our job.

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