Wednesday, 5 December 2018
That the Senate—
(i) the crucial role that all firefighting and emergency service personnel play as the front-line response to emergencies and disasters,
(ii) the heroic efforts of the many volunteer firefighters who, without payment, risk their lives to fight bushfires, and
(iii) the importance of allowing landholders the flexibility to clear and maintain proper firebreaks on their properties;
(b) notes that under the Queensland Labor Government's vegetation management legislation, Queensland farmers and landholders are prevented from adequately protecting their properties from the risk of bushfires through back burning and clearing firebreaks; and
(c) thanks the many firefighters who have travelled interstate to assist in combating the bushfires currently threatening Queensland.
Labor supports and commends the role of firefighters and other emergency personnel in responding to the Queensland bushfires, and we support paragraphs (a)(i), (a)(ii) and (c) of this motion. As the Premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk, has stated as recently as today, to those on the frontline and behind the scenes: thank you, you've done an incredible job. Labor extends our thanks to the dedicated volunteers from organisations such as Lifeline and the Red Cross, who are also working hand in hand with the state government to offer support to local residents and their families affected by the bushfires.
A motion in support of our emergency services personnel should not be exploited for base and overtly partisan political purposes, including an incorrect statement on Queensland laws, as this motion does. Labor opposes paragraphs (a)(iii) and (b) of this motion on that basis. We ask that the question be divided so that the opposition can vote on the different paragraphs (a)(i), (a)(ii) and (c) together, and paragraphs (a)(iii) and (b) together.