Bushfire Archives


Our letter to all Nillumbik Councillors that ALL RATEPAYERS need to read…



As you pay the rise of Insurance premiums for Bushfire Cover, then read this receipe by the CEO for COVER UP ORDERS ( even back in February 2009) as the Councils Insurance Brokers fight for existence while world underwriters are now working toward massive reduction of fuel loads and land clearing around buildings, etc, to receive any insurance cover in bushrie prone areas.



Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission – Submission


” Human life must be placed above all other considerations. Begin all planning legislation with this requirement and frame all other provisions to prioritise human safety as the first and highest obligation. Recognise in legislation that humans are an important part of the environment.

” Reduce ground fuel on all large areas of council land and Government reserves then commence a rotating plan to continue this fuel reduction by prescribed burning.

” Abandon Local Law 5 20(B) namely the restrictions on clearance of all roadsides and nature strips.

” Prior to commencement of the 2009/2010 fire season the State Government in cooperation with councils in high fire risk areas to clear roadsides and nature strips of ground fuel. Thereafter to be maintained by council.

To read the full submission – CLICK HERE.



With public concern, safety, and the bushfire season now upon us, your council’s doing nothing positive about the outrageous bushfire fuel loads surrounding our shire. Awaiting only ignition to create a new hell all over again. The NRA have sent this letter on 14th September 2009 to Hon Richard Wynne MP, Minister for Local Government and Aboriginal Affairs confirming the Bushfire Royal Commission witness testimony that fuel loads are still out of control in the shire.

More than urgent is positive bushfire controls set in place by council to combat another catastrophe engulfing this shire again. Factual history of February 2009 revealed horrific consequences of lost human life and property and halting repletion may now be too late.

Read the Letter here

Click on the picture to read or download a pdf copy of the story.

“At one stage I Literally begged for help” from the Age newspaper story of Arthurs Creek CFA Captain, David McGathy revisits his days in Strathewen on Black Saturday Read and download this article in pdf here.


Athol Hodgson

President Forest Fire Vic Inc.

Former Commissioner of Forests,

Chief Fire Officer Conservation Forests and Lands

Website: http://www.vicnet.net.au/~frstfire

STATE OF DISASTER Ineptitude and failures revealed to the Bushfires Royal Commission (Sunday Age Bachelard 5/7 and Hall 19/7) are but part of a tragic story. It starts before Black Saturday when Premier and Minister failed to do the obvious.

Counsel Assisting found “No serious consideration was given by any witness to advising that a state of disaster, under s23 of the Emergency Management Act 1986, be declared on 7 February 2009, and no witness was aware that this had been considered by anyone else.

On Ash Wednesday1983 Victoria’s “3 stage” Displan was found wanting. Pending new legislation the Government empowered the Premier to declare a state of disaster, appoint a Minister as Co-ordinator in Chief and the Chief Commissioner of Police as State Co-ordinator of Displan. The measures were thoroughly tested when lightning started 111 fires on public land on 14 January 1985 and were crucial to successfully co-ordinating and controlling the resources of many agencies to combat those fires and others on private land.

Emergency Management Act (the Act) says:

“If there is an emergency which the Premier of Victoria after considering the advice of the Co-ordinator in Chief and the State Co-ordinator is satisfied constitutes or is likely to constitute a significant and widespread danger to life and property in Victoria, the Premier may declare a state of disaster to exist in the whole or in any part or parts of Victoria.

The Act gives disparate roles to a co-ordinator (the bringing together of agencies and elements to ensure effective response to emergencies) and a controller, (the overall direction of response to a likely or actual emergency).

Government submission to the Royal Commission includes:

In a press conference on 30 January, the Premier stated ‘we are right on the edge today’. On 4 February, the Premier said in the media that the State was ready to burn, with or without extreme heat. On 5 February, he said ‘everything is just tinder dry and we don’t even need the high temperatures now for high fire alerts’. On 6 February, the Premier said the forecast conditions would make it ‘the worst day ever in the history of our State.

Fires were burning uncontrolled when the Premier made his 6 February statement. It was a defining moment for the Premier, Minister and advisers. He could declare a state of disaster or opt for existing fires and new fires to be “managed” from the Integrated Emergency Co-ordination Centre (IECC).

If a state of disaster had been declared before Black Saturday 7 February 2009 the following would have happened:

Victorians heard a timely, credible message – unprecedented in their experience that lives and property were in peril.

The State Disaster Co-ordination Centre at police HQ was fully operational.

The Chief Fire Officer DSE, Chief Officer MFB and Chief Officer CFA were at respective operations HQ directing their resources to going fires and new ones as they started.

In lieu of state of disaster arrangements, the IECC was allowed to handle whatever might happen on a day the Premier believed would be the worst day ever in the history of our State. The IECC, fatally flawed by integrating co-ordination and control in one facility, collapsed early on Black Saturday. Did someone actually believe the IECC is the “NERVE CENTRE” where “NO BLAZE ESCAPES THE ATTENTION OF FIREFIGHTING HQ”, “IECC specialists plan strategies and marshal firefighters, firefighting appliances, transport and other resources”, “Experts rely greatly on technology to track fires—aircraft with infra-red cameras simultaneously beam pictures of the hotspots in each fire back to HQ” ?

These “Living with Fire” claims are fantasy- not facts. The Commission heard chilling evidence of ineptitude, confusion and failure. Perhaps most revealing that at 5 o’clock on Sunday, nearly a day after people died at Marysville, IECC “managers” believed everyone there was safe.

Counsel Assisting promised the conduct of Government, not just its agencies, will be subject to scrutiny in the Commission. The deceased and still suffering Victorians deserve to hear what the Premier, Co-ordinator in Chief and State Co-ordinator of Displan have to say.

Athol Hodgson President.

Forest Fire Victoria Inc.


Hear Premier Brumby quote on ABC “Stateline” up to 1000 could have perished in the Black Saturday fires


Last Sunday nights(June 6th 2009) 60 minutes should have been mandatory viewing for anyone connected to the this inquiry, a young man who had lost his world, his wife and 2 children, the baby in his arms, they had sheltered in the dam, the baby died, he said “burning children is not good”. Click on the image of “Rising From The Ashes” to view this 60 minutes program.

“In trying to get to his wife and other 2 children” – , his feet were just about burnt off. The pain and sufering of this person is so heart wrenching, he describes the inferno, not a bushfire, a fuel loaded inferno and lack of authorities communication with the people is appauling.


July 2003, David Packham, a CSIRO Bushfire Expert for many years and Roc Incoll, Victorian Bushfire Expert were asked by the Nillumbik Rate Payers Association to furnish a report on the shire of Nillumbik as concerned residents were worried by flawed Council vegetation laws, and their ban on hazard reduction.

Both submitted independently and their findings in reports – click here to read these reports – and their recommendations were a mirror of what the recent “Black Saturday” resulted in.

When these were presented to council in 2003, they ignored them and castigated both men, which you can read in the current minutes is still being aired.

With the points on the board from our recent disaster, the mind boggles as to what is needed to convince these culpable millstones that today we need fuel loads reduced and hazard reduction conducted NOW.


David Packham, Australian and International bushfire expert is interviewed by “A Current Affair’s Tracy Grimshaw” on the fire ground of Black Saturday.

He explains the arrogance and green myth-management of the Nillumbik Shire Council – the lost of 43 lives on the February 7th 2009 from a fuel enhanced inferno that engulfed Strathewen, part of our shire.

This experts report of 2003 was ignored by council then and council now… TODAY … with only Cr Belinda Clarkson fighting for common sense to be exercised with the radical greenie vegetation laws and policies of “The Green gateway” myth-management machine..

In this video footage of “A Current Affair” program that aired the Kay Doyle story of radical green council at Nillumbik back in 2003.

They took her to court and confiscated her land as punishment for clearing a fire break around her house that was scrub.

Common sense must prevail, for the voice of the people daily resonates louder as rate payers realise facts of destruction outweigh fiction of the policies.

Nillumbik Ratepayers Association, Nillumbik, Nillumbik Council, Nillumbik Shire, Shire of Nillumbik, Ratepayers, Fire, Bushfire, Wildfire, vegetation, hazard reduction,Black Saturday, accountability, greens, corruption, culpable, criminal