As the bushfire recovery effort continues Council is gathering information from rural brigades, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, stakeholder groups and community members to develop a more resilient ‘whole of shire’ bushfire mitigation and long-term management plan.
Chair of the Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) Mayor Bill Ludwig said that with the recent extraordinary ‘wildfires’ wreaking havoc on communities nationwide, putting in place a comprehensive long-term management plan to mitigate bushfire risks and impacts is absolutely essential.
“Two weeks ago I presented the first draft proposal for a ‘whole of shire’ concept plan to the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack as part of the Central Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (CQROC) delegation to Canberra,” Mayor Ludwig said.
“Discussions with the State Government are now also underway to secure joint funding commitments from all three tiers of Government to join forces in the development and implementation of an integrated bushfire mitigation ‘pilot program’ in early 2020.
“With input from local Rural Fire Brigades, QFES, State Agencies and the Livingstone Local Disaster Management Group the mitigation plan would include:
1. A better-coordinated program of cool-burns and back burning with requirements for all property owners and Government controlled land to participate.
2. Development of an integrated network of strategic fire breaks and access trails with recurrent funding for annual maintenance programs.
3. An audit to help identify properties where access and turn around areas need improvement to be defendable in a major bushfire event.
4. Training programs and support for residents to better understand what improvements and measures they need to take to make their properties more defendable and what their responsibilities are in that regard.
5. Community education and support for residents to develop and understand bushfire mitigation plans for their properties including evacuation plans.
6. Recruitment strategies to attract more volunteers and auxiliary supporters.
“Funding for other measures including mapping to more accurately identify where additional new fire breaks should be created as well establishing annual maintenance programs would be a ‘common-sense’ and well-placed investment.
“Collectively the integrated mitigation approach will ultimately save millions of dollars through preventative action.
“While we will never be able to totally eliminate the risks presented by wildfires, a rolling five to ten year integrated bushfire risk management plan would drastically reduce overall fire risk levels.
“As part of building resilience, this plan also aims to design and deliver a preparation program to reduce fuel in the Livingstone Shire Council area and work in partnership with the owners of Shoalwater Bay Training Area and State protected lands to manage regional risk and protect assets.
“The imperative now is to have the first draft of the plan in place as soon as possible in 2020,” Mayor Ludwig said.