Posted on 20. Oct, 2011 in News

The Baillieu-Ryan Government has failed to take action to assist and protect Victorians in aged care or with a disability living in high bushfire risk areas, Shadow Minister for Bushfire Response Jacinta Allan said today.

The Premier had promised to compile and maintain a list of vulnerable residents so emergency services and local councils could provide urgent assistance to them during a bushfire.

Vulnerable residents were defined by the Bushfire Royal Commission as people situated in aged care facilities, hospitals, schools and child care centres.

However, in a recent report, the Bushfire Implementation Monitor, Neil Comrie, raised concerns that those in aged care, people with a disability or other residents who might need assistance might not be protected should a bushfire strike.

“In almost 12 months, the Baillieu-Ryan Government has done nothing to make sure vulnerable Victorians are protected during a bushfire,” Ms Allan said.

“The Baillieu-Ryan Government promised to implement all 67 recommendations from the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission, yet it has failed to compile and maintain a list of vulnerable residents as the Royal Commission recommended.

“The interim report of the Bushfire Implementation Monitor stated the recommendation regarding the register did ‘not appear to have been explicitly addressed’ (page 43) and that the Baillieu-Ryan Government should implement it.

“The Implementation Monitor’s report also raised concerns about a lack of a clear definition of the term ‘vulnerable’, and lack of consistency about who should be included on those lists.

“No wonder local councils are confused about what they need to do.”

Ms Allan said by ignoring this report, the Liberal-National Government was leaving Victorians at risk.

“The Liberal-National Government has a responsibility to ensure it is doing all it can to protect the most vulnerable members of our community. Yet just weeks from the start of the fire season no action on this recommendation has been taken,” she said.

“As recently as May this year, Liberal Minister Mary Wooldridge was unaware that it was the responsibility of her department – the Department of Human Services – to work towards establishing this register.

“It is of critical importance Mr Baillieu and Mr Ryan put in place a register of vulnerable people well ahead of the fire season and any further delays are not acceptable.”



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