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A national bushfire survival campaign is needed now.



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Gavan O'Connor MP MEMBER FOR CORIO

SHADOW MINISTER FOR TOURISM SHADOW MINISTER FOR REGIONAL SERVICES, TERRITORIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

4 February 2003

A NATIONAL BUSHFIRE SURVIVAL CAMPAIGN IS NEEDED NOW

It’s time the federal government used its ever inflating advertising budget to help Australians protect their lives and property from the horror of bushfire.

This government has long been willing to spend taxpayer dollars on promoting its achievements and its wasteful advertising campaign on terror.

It’s time to put this money to a more useful purpose.

The Howard Government should switch its advertising and self-promotion dollars into a national bushfire awareness and prevention campaign. Such a campaign could include both media advertising and direct mail, and should be designed in cooperation with state and territory authorities.

So far this summer, fires have hit every state and the ACT. Six Australians have died, more than 600 homes have been lost and 1.7 million hectares have been burned out.

The recent fire tragedy in the ACT has brought home the stark fact that, given the right conditions, even those who live in out cities and suburbs can be hit by bushfire just as severely as those who live in rural areas.

In 1984 a federal parliamentary inquiry which followed the Ash Wednesday fire disaster recommended that the Commonwealth cooperate with States to: “…develop a national awareness campaign dealing with bushfire survival, building protection, fire prevention and the role of fire in the environment.”

This recommendation is as valid today as it was back in 1984.

The Howard Government should spend its advertising dollars on ensuring that every Australian knows what they have to do to prevent and survive bushfires.

Contact Bernie Eades on 0418 523 820