Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria)– My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Police and Emergency Services and relates to the bushfire management overlay in the Surf Coast shire. Most members would be aware that the royal commission made many recommendations, one of which was in relation to bushfire management overlay plans. The concern the community has at this point is that there has been a delay in implementing the plan or that it has been withheld. The community just cannot get the plan under way to provide the necessary protections that would normally be put in place in respect of making sure that the local environment, its people and assets are protected.
There is concern in the community that the delay in the plan — or the overlay or its withholding — is also somehow related to the controversial planning amendment commonly known as Spring Creek.
I have had a number of community members relay their concerns to me that somehow there is some connection between that controversial planning amendment and the bushfire overlay. I am not saying that is necessarily the case, because it would be impossible for anyone to be able to provide the evidence to promulgate that line of thinking. However, given the environmental situation of the Surf Coast shire, being so close to the back of the Otways — the shire over recent years has had significant bushfires — it is important for the minister to demonstrate that this government is serious about making sure that the overlay is available as soon as possible and that there are no other political influences brought into play in terms of the situation in which the shire finds itself.
There are a number of hot spots in the shire, including Jan Juc and Bellbrae, but we also have the coastal townships of Anglesea and Lorne, and in the hinterland Deans Marsh and Fairhaven. All of those areas are considered to be significant in terms of the potential risk of bushfire. I urge the minister to release the plans as soon as possible, not just for the Surf Coast shire but also for the area in which the electorate of Polwarth is contained.