The Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service is putting Scottsdale at risk of bushfire devastation, and is “without a doubt the poorest performing department in government,” according to Dorset Council Mayor Greg Howard.
A part of Dorset Council’s ongoing strategy for bushfires revolves around conducting fuel reduction burns, where excess foliage is burnt off in parklands to decrease the risk of destructive fires.
However, Cr Howard said that Mount Stronach is five or six years overdue for a fuel reduction burn, and that the Parks and Wildlife Department controlled area poses a major risk to Scottsdale citizens.
“There’s a huge fuel load on Mount Stronach that needs to be removed and Parks and Wildlife are totally uncommitted to it,” he said.
“If that got going in the middle of summer it would seriously place the town of Scottsdale at risk, especially if there was an easterly wind.”
“Last time Mount Stronach got on fire, which was quite a long time ago now, there were live flakes of burning material landing on Scottsdale and that was actually in spring time.
“If that had happened in the middle of summertime, when the paddocks were dry and the fuel load still isn’t cleared, then the fire would be uncontrollable.”
The state government’s State Fire Management Council also recognises fuel reduction burning as a key pillar of its bushfire prevention program.
Under the plan, Forestry Tasmania, the Tasmania Fire Service and the Parks and Wildlife Department are to help facilitate fuel reduction fires on private and public property.
Cr Howard said he would be happy to see the Parks and Wildlife Department given a reduced role.
“One of the motions from the State Liberal Party conference was to separate crown land away from Parks and Wildlife. We would totally support that,” he said.
“I would think that most people who have anything to do with Parks and Wildlife, farmers and councils, would be usually dissatisfied with their performance.
“They’re without a doubt the poorest performing department in government.”
The Parks and Wildlife Department was unavailable for comment.