House debates

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Statements by Members

Fraser Island: Bushfires

1:31 pm

Photo of Llew O'BrienLlew O'Brien (Wide Bay, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

It's heartbreaking to see the devastation that the bushfires on Fraser Island have wreaked on its flora, fauna, residents and businesses. Fraser Island is internationally renowned for its pristine beaches, magnificent forests, and tranquil lakes and pools. It's home to over 40 species of mammals, 70 species of reptiles and 350 species of birds, but over the past six weeks this fire has devoured more than 40 per cent of the island's landmass, destroying their habitat.

The fire is another blow to the island's tourism industry, following COVID-19. This has heavily impacted the local tourist operators and accommodation services, including Kingfisher Bay Resort, a major employer on the island. Everyone, including the community and all levels of government, will need to help the island to recover. Disaster assistance has been made available by the Australian government to help with firefighting efforts, and I pay tribute to everyone helping to fight the fire, as well as the island's residents for adhering to the advice from emergency services. There is a widespread concern about vegetation and land management policies and practices on the island, and these must be thoroughly investigated. The state government must ensure that everything possible is done to prevent another disaster like this from happening again.