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Fraser Island fire: Neil Breen quizzes fire chief over Happy Valley response

Neil Breen
Article image for Fraser Island fire: Neil Breen quizzes fire chief over Happy Valley response

While the Fraser Island bushfires continue, Neil Breen sought answers from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Assistant Commissioner Andrew Short.  

“The actual fire is still approximately a kilometre to the west of township, we have put out some warnings, as you’re aware, however, a lot of work’s been done,” said Mr Short.

Mr Short assured Neil Breen protecting Happy Valley was a high priority to the QFES.

Neil Breen asked if the QFES was certain they could save Happy Valley.

“The whole notion of dealing with emergencies like this, and bushfires particularly, you can’t guarantee everything,” Mr Short replied.

“We’re satisfied that we’ve done everything we can.”

Neil Breen pressed the Assistant Commissioner on the overall response to the bushfires, which began burning in mid-October.

“There’s been lots of controversy about this fire,” Neil said. “(There’s) a water bomber plane sitting on a tarmac in Bundaberg; we’ve now got a plane up from NSW; the QFES wasn’t brought in for a month – should the QFES have been brought in earlier?”

But Mr Short wouldn’t be drawn into the debate.

“Neil, it’s not my position to comment on that,” he responded. “The Premier has announced that IGEM are going to have a look at it.

“Like any modern emergency service or the sector more broadly, we need to be bold and brave enough to review what happened –  what worked and what didn’t work – and I’m going to let others do that piece of work without preempting what might have come out of that.”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview

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