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Friday analysis: Litigation won’t help put out fires


The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath.

There is possibly only one thing more dangerous than a bushfire breaking out and there being no fire brigade around to fight it.

And that is probably an ill-equipped, poorly trained fire brigade being sent in to battle the blaze.

Which begs the question as to why “third party litigators” – who presumably all live in houses susceptible to fire – would place an injunction on Victoria’s emergency services personnel making it impossible to complete vital first responder training at TAFE Gippsland’s Forestec Rowboat training coupe.

The Rowboat coupe in East Gippsland is the site for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s (DELWP) forest fire management crews, SES and police first-responder training.

As the Nationals’ Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath pointed out in State Parliament this week, students learn important forestry skills including high-risk dangerous tree felling, machine operations, crosscut, 4WD and forest fire management to reduce the spread of bushfire, keeps roads open and protect life and property

Why would anyone – anyone – not want this training carried out?

In her statement to the House, Ms Bath did not detail what specific action the “third party litigators” had taken, or who they were.

But it’s not the first time “third party litigators” have taken action to prevent this sort of training happening.

Late last year the Tiger coupe, located near Nowa Nowa in the Colquhoun State Forest in East Gippsland being used by TAFE Gippsland for training Victorian essential service personnel was targeted by vexatious court claims resulting in its closure.

The claims, that site mismanagement was occurring and that there were subsequent threats to species, were unfounded.

The Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney told State Parliament this week she was “optimistic” about the training continuing at some point in the future.

“Optimistic” and “some point in the future” seriously does not cut it.

Try telling that to someone who is staring at a wall of fire approaching their house this summer.

Try telling that to one of the “third party litigators” in the same situation.