Wednesday, 22 February 2023

Questions without notice and ministers statements

Ministers statements: Flowerdale fire

Ministers statements: Flowerdale fire

Jaclyn SYMES (Northern Victoria – Attorney-General, Minister for Emergency Services) (12:32): I am just bookending where we started today in relation to the fire at Flowerdale to give the latest update of the information that I have been provided with, but it is also an opportunity to pay tribute to our amazing CFA volunteers. As we know, there is a significant fast-moving grassfire burning in Flowerdale. It started yesterday, and it is not yet under control. A ‘watch and act, stay near shelter’ advice is in place for the area, and I do of course encourage people to familiarise themselves regularly with the VicEmergency warnings and the app, because advice, particularly in relation to grassfires, can change quite rapidly. It is a large fire. It has grown to 710 hectares. It is complicated by the difficult terrain. In good news there are no injuries to anybody and no property damage in relation to homes. There was superficial fire damage to a home, but crew did a fantastic job to save that house.

As I alluded to earlier, there are almost 60 CFA units on site. As a Broadford local, I know that my local brigades would be responding to this fire right now, and I do thank them for their efforts. They are supported by Forest Fire Management Victoria. It is particularly important for that terrain for that skill set to be there. I do repeat: we have had various aircraft being deployed, including the Chinook and the large air tanker, including night-time water bombing. There is an incident control team at Alexandra supported by the State Control Centre and a concerted effort to get this under control prior to the weather heating up in the coming days. I am sure everyone’s attention is on that.

In recent weeks Victoria has observed the 40th anniversary of the Ash Wednesday bushfires, which followed closely the 14th anniversary of Black Saturday. These are poignant reminders of the destruction and loss associated with natural disasters and the fact that it can stay with people forever. My thoughts have been with survivors, communities and those who have lost loved ones.

Georgie Crozier interjected.

Jaclyn SYMES: Ms Crozier, I am talking about people who died in fires. I would appreciate it if I could not be interrupted in relation to that. (Time expired)