Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area fires to be subject of Senate inquiry

Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area fires to be subject of Senate inquiry

17 March 2016

published by www.abc.net.au

Australia–  he Senate will hold an inquiry into the summer bushfires that tore through thousands of hectares of Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Tasmania’s bushfires burnt more than 100,000 hectares of land around the state this summer, including an estimated 2 per cent of the Wilderness World Heritage Area.

A motion moved by Tasmanian Greens Senator Nick McKim to investigate the response to the fires was agreed to today.

Senator McKim said the speed and scale of the response to the fires in the heritage area was not adequate.

“From the Greens’ point of view, the response to the recent fires inside the World Heritage Area wasn’t rapid or strong enough,” he said.

“We need to make sure the [Senate] committee makes recommendations that ensure that our firefighters, who did a fantastic job responding to unprecedented fires in Tasmania in January and February, [have] the resources, both human and mechanical, that they need to ensure an adequate response.”

Senator McKim also wants the impact of global warming on fire frequency looked into.

“This summer we saw the effects of global warming on Tasmania, with record-shattering hot and dry conditions and devastating bushfires,” he said.

“This inquiry will look at the impact of global warming on fire frequency and magnitude and make recommendations for adequate financial, human and mechanical resources in the future.”

Senator McKim wants Tasmania’s capability to be in line with world’s best practice methods of remote area fire management.

“Our firefighters deserve the very best, and we need to be sure that they have the best possible planning and resources in place for next time,” he said.

Mr McKim said the World Heritage Area was Tasmania’s “most important and valuable asset” and needed better protection.

It is expected hearings will be held in northern Tasmania and Hobart.

The inquiry will report back by the end of May.

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