Heat goes on land clearing laws
A FEDERAL Parliamentary inquiry will be held into Queensland's bushfires as the State Government bluntly rejects calls from farmers, lobby groups and Prime Minister Scott Morrison for a judicial inquiry.
News Queensland can exclusively reveal a wide-ranging probe will examine whether green-inspired laws exacerbated Queensland's fire disaster, with hearings - in which state Treasurer Jackie Trad will be asked to give evidence - from this month.
But the House of Representatives inquiry, which will hand down a report in April, just before the federal election, has not negated the federal LNP's calls for a commission of inquiry.
Mr Morrison yesterday supported a call by Resources and Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan for Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to order an inquiry.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, Senator Canavan, Capricornia MP Michelle Landry, Dawson MP George Christensen, Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd and Petrie MP Luke Howarth stood side-by-side in Canberra yesterday to call for answers.
Mr Littleproud questioned why the State Government was willing to spend millions of dollars on changing the name of Lady Cilento Hospital but would not spend money on finding out how landholders could better protect themselves from the next bushfires.
"We need to have a real look at the impact of the Queensland Labor Government's native vegetation management land management practices,'' he said.
Revealing the inquiry into the impact of vegetation and land management policies on the agricultural sector and six terms of reference, Mr Littleproud said: "The idea a farmer is too scared to make a proper firebreak is a joke."
"If Queensland's laws are locking up agriculture's potential and making fires worse, we need to know about it.
"I'll be inviting Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad to appear and give evidence at the inquiry as she was clearly the architect of them."
Ms Trad, by law, cannot be forced to appear.
Queensland LNP Leader Deb Frecklington believes a state parliamentary inquiry would be better than a judicial inquiry. She said communities rocked by bushfires deserved answers and a parliamentary inquiry was the appropriate forum.
"Climate change can't be used as an excuse to do nothing. If anything, climate change means we should be adapting our response more,'' Ms Frecklington said.
State Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said he was "bloody furious" about the State Government being blamed for the ferocity of the fires.
"There's been no change to farmers being able to manage fire breaks through the changes in the laws," he said.
The Palaszczuk Government last night confirmed the State's acting Inspector-General Emergency Management Michael Shapland would conduct a review into the bush fires.
"There are lessons to be learned from every disaster and this one is no different," Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said.
Queensland Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham rejected claims that vegetation management laws prevented land owners fireproofing their properties and said the government would conduct a "normal, routine" review of the bushfires.
"We learn very, very important lessons every time a review is done, we learn how to do things better, how to improve and that's what we'll learn from this event as well," he said.