Black Saturday – 7th February 2009

Luncheon Seminar: 12noon -2pm
Wednesday, March 18th 2009
Morgans at 401
401 Collins Street, Melbourne

1851 – Black Thursday, February 6th -12 people died, 5 million hectares burnt.
1939 – Black Friday, January 13th – 71 people died, 1.5 million hectares burnt.
1983 – Ash Wednesday – 47 people died, 210,000 hectares burnt.
2003 – 2 million hectares burnt, North East Victoria, East Gippsland, NSW, Canberra.
2006-07 – 1.3 million+ hectares burnt north and south of the Great Divide.
2009 – Black Saturday – more than 208 people died.

  • What have we learnt over the past 200 years?

  • Are uncontrollable, killer bushfires here forever?

  • What is the influence of zealous environmentalists on fire and land management?

Roger Underwood.
2008 N.W. Jolly Medalist, IFA’s highest honour for outstanding contribution to the profession of forestry in Australia.

Roger is a former fire fighter, district and regional manager and research leader with the Forests Department, Western Australia. For 9 years he was General Manager, Department of Conservation and Land Management, responsible for bushfire management in W.A’s forests and national parks. Now Chairman of The Bushfire Front, an organisation dedicated to best practice in bushfire management in Australia. The Bushfire Front is gravely concerned about the decline in the standard of bushfire preparedness and damage mitigation in Australia, and has pointed out that damaging fires will continue to occur, unless a new approach is taken.
Postal replies: Stewart McArthur, Convenor: Stretton Group
GPO Box 2282U, Melbourne 3001 VIC
Contact Sue Renshaw
Phone: 03) 9224 5112

About the Stretton Group

The Stretton Group is an apolitical, not-for-profit group established in December 2003 following the disastrous south east Australian bushfire crisis in 2002/3. The Stretton Group comprises a disparate association of volunteers who support the protection of the natural environment through greater transparency of the public sector processes involved. Named after the respected Royal Commissioner into 1939 Victorian Bushfires, Justice Leonard Stretton, the group proposes that government managed national parks and forests should be provided with a balance sheet value which encapsulates the environmental, cultural and economic value of these assets.

The Stretton Group is committed to ensuring that our intergenerational responsibility is met by Governments committing appropriate funding to the maintenance of this public property – commensurate with its asset value. The Group advocates the preparation and publication of performance indicators which enable the public to assess the quality of the management being provided to the natural environment. This would bring publicly owned wilderness into line with reporting required for hospitals, schools and other public institutions. The Stretton Group is committed to ensuring that the public debate about conservation is conducted on a balanced and informed basis – which may often disturb political myths or common preconceptions about the present quality of environmental preservation.

Members of the Stretton Group:

Simon Paton is a 5th generation farmer and cattle breeder from Callaghans Creek, Mitta Mitta and owns and operates the Bogong Ski-Hire centre at Mt Beauty. Simon has been a major spokesman for NE Victorian communities affected by the bushfires and is campaigner for community involvement conservation and forest management. (Tel: 03 5754 4555)

Peter Attiwill, PhD, BScFor, AssocDipFor,
is Principal Fellow in Botany, and Senior Fellow, The Australian Centre, The University of Melbourne. He has researched in eucalypt ecology over 40 years, with a concentration on soils and nutrient cycles, and on bushfires and ecosystem recovery. He has published extensively in the international journals, and his latest book is Ecology: An Australian Perspective (co-editor BA Wilson, Oxford University Press 2003). (Tel: 03 9870 3034)

Athol Hodgson, BScFor, AssocDipFor, has more than 50 years experience in fire management and forest fire research in Australia, USA, Canada, France and Spain. He was formerly Commissioner for Forests, and then Chief Fire Officer, Department of Conservation. He was a Member of the Board of the Country Fire Authority and a Member of the State Disaster Committee and is a graduate from the National Advanced Fire Behaviour School, Marana, Arizona. (Tel: 03 9580 4964)

Bill Middleton, OAM
, DipFor, has some 50 years experience in management of forests, of nurseries and of vegetation habitat in rural areas and he is an Honorary Life Member of Birds Australia. He was Supervisor of the innovative Potter Farmland Plan for ecologically-sustainable agriculture, and a Board Associate for the Trust for Nature. (Tel: 03 5254 2332)

David Packham, OAM, MAppSci, worked for 40 years in bushfire research with CSIRO, Monash University and the Australian Emergency Management Institute. He was responsible for fire-weather services in the Bureau of Meteorology. His extensive research concentrated on the physics of bushfires, and he applied this research to practical issues including the development of aerial prescribed burning, non-evacuation of properties, modelling of fire behaviour, and forensics.

Stewart McArthur, MA Cantab, was the Federal Member for Corangamite 1984 – 2007, a Camperdown farmer and company director. He was an active member of the all-party House of Representatives Select committee Inquiry into the 2003 Australian Bushfires whose report A Nation Charred: Inquiry into the Recent Australian Bushfires was tabled on Wednesday 5 November 2003.

Stretton Group Forums and Seminars:

Inaugural Oration Phil Cheney “The Green Inferno” (the Politics of Bushfires and Conservation) (November 25, 2004)

Forest Industries: “Their Contribution to Global Sustainability” Tricia Caswell (September 29, 2005)

“Lock ’em up and let ’em burn” – Public forum on Grampians and Anakie fires 2006 (February 23, 2006)

Fire – Flood – Mud – Water – Speakers Rob Gilder and Prof David Dunkerley (May 28, 2008)

Fire in Water Catchments – Speaker Professor Mark Adams, Dean of the Facility of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, University of New South Wales. (November 19, 2008)

Cool Burning of Hazard Reduction Video

Blaming and buck-passing as to the cause of the Victorian fires will continue until the white washing is exercised, and be assured Victorian Royal Commissions into bushfires in Victoria are double coated in whitewash as was revealed by SOS-NEWS two years ago with the dismissal of damning evidence presented to the Linton bushfire inquiry by David Packham, an expert on bushfires, who dared in his report to mention massive fuel loads were a prime factor, the coroner under CFA intervention removed the report from evidence.

You have seen David on TV and heard him on radio squarely presenting the same reason for this inferno in 2009, this time resulting in some 300 deaths.

The ignition of the fires is not the problem, arson, lighting, etc, it is the FACT that fuel loads were, and are still in NSW and Vic, just ridiculous and dangerous is an understatement.

Why is this allowed to remain year after year, unchecked and growing in tinder box conditions, well the GREENS policy is to not hazard reduce under some myth that it will destroy wildlife.

Well wildlife cannot survive under and inferno, they do adjust and survive in a Cool Burn that reduces or removed bloody fuel loads.

Watch this video from the SOS-NEWS Team how a cool burn works.


The Legacy

There’s No Pictures in This Story

The immense tragedy is still being played out in Victoria as the all erasing fires sweep the Melbournian hinterlands and there can be no words that ease the suffering, anguish and sheer emotional trauma of those that have been subjected to the resultant finality of an out of control red steer.

I do not in any way intend disrespect, nor indifference towards those of our fellow men and women in Victoria that are suffering in such numbers that defies bush logic, in fact, this article is intended to get to the very nub of the problem by looking at the real nuts and bolts. A rusty problem that requires a deluge of WD40.

The unconscionable media is of course in full swing supporting the Victorian authority in their chase for the elusive ARSONIST that purportedly caused without evidence in support, the horrific death and destruction. The truth is another matter altogether and it is this truth that needs to be sought by every facet of Victorian society and every caring citizen of Australia.

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Greens Furnaces Fire Up Victoria

This great nation has commanded the wrath of three, Flood, Fire and Drought, centuries before record were kept or the preaching fictional climate change spin doctors started their fear mongering.

Media hype plays a major part with fiction being transformed to fact, but when historic facts are equate to the current bushfire holocaust with those of 1937 Victorian Bushfires that engulfed that state, this fades ALL REFERENCE to any climate change into oblivion.

When listening to the Greens leader Bob Brown babbling climate change, being the major factor of the fires, not one word of concern to the loss of life, now standing at 106 and rising, not a mention of some 800 homes gone, just the Green agenda band wagon at any cost.

“Hell and all it’s fury has visited Victoria with the loss of good people’s lives” – quoted by Kevin Rudd.

Environment and conservation of our heritage is a requirement, something the majority of people understand and practice, for we have seen what man can do to the forests and wildlife when radical land clearing and logging has run rampant such as back in the 50’s.

Victoria again has experienced results of the running rampant minority radical greens dictatorship of “Lock It Up” policy that includes the myth of hazard reduction (Cool Back Burning) destroys the ecology and wild life, when Aboriginals have proven, along with farmers, who managed public lands before taken into National Park Myth-management, that rubbish removed from the ground and dead wood reduction does not remove wildelife habitat, they can walk away from a cool burn but not an INFERNO and it also clears areas for new growth to see the sun and recieve the rains.

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It’s ours and its time to take it back

There is a need for reality, transparency, honesty and most of all, integrity, to be heard in the rhetoric we are all being subjected to, by our servants the politicians.

The irresponsible actions of the Milky Bar Kid Prime Minister, Mr Kevin Rudd, along with his side kick treasurer Wayne Swan, to hysterically hurl our nationally saved tax dollars at the purported less fortunate in society and then advise them with fake sincerity to go forth and enjoy a spending spree as some straw-clutching act to enhance our flagging economy in some meaningful, long term way, was for me the last straw.

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