The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission (VBRC) made two recommendations regarding planned burns on public land and the Victorian Coalition Government committed to implementing all 67 recommendations.
The State fund and commit to implementing a long-term program of prescribed burning based on an annual rolling target of 5 per cent minimum of public land.
Recommendation 57 states "The Department of Sustainability and Environment report annually on prescribed burning outcomes in a manner that meets public accountability objectives, including publishing details of targets, area burnt, funds expended on the program, and impacts on biodiversity."
In July 2012, the independent report from the Bushfires Royal Commission Implementation Monitor, Neil Comrie outlined the Coalition Government's progress in implementing the recommendations of the VBRC.
"The BRCIM questions the rolling target as the most effective way to increase the level of planned burning across the State as working towards a pre-determined target may diminish the State’s ability to focus on risk reduction in high risk areas.
The BRCIM advocates that the State reconsider the planned burning rolling target of five per cent as the primary outcome as part of the planned burning reform program. It is considered that the most important objective of the planned burning program must be to address public safety risks in line with the VBRC’s intentions."
The scale of planned burns, the bulldozing of hollow bearing trees and the effects of the burns on biodiversity are of great concern to Environment groups and many individuals throughout the State.
Wombat Forestcare and 32 Regional Environment groups have written to the Premier.
Wombat Forestcare has made a submission to the Fire Operations Plan requesting that The Department of Environment and Primary Industries reconsider the extent of the burns for the Wombat State Forest.