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Commonwealth departments to assist the States in developing fire safety education programs ae becoming urgent



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P A R L I A M E N T O F A U S T R A L I A

H O U S E O F R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENT OFFICES COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT CENTRE CHIFLEY SQUARE SYDNEY. N S W. 2000

TEL. 221 2700

DAVID M. CONNOLLY. M.P. FEDERAL MEMBER FOR BRADFIELD SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

12th March

David Connolly, Shadow Minister for Environment said today that the need for the Ccnmonwealth Department of Education and Youth Affairs to assist the States in developing fire safety education programs was becoming increasingly urgent. This follows a report by a

Western Suburbs fire brigade station officer who claims that scores of Western Suburbs grass fires are being deliberately lit by schoolchildren. ....

Mr Connolly experienced at first hand the horror of the fires which encircled Canberra earlier this month, many of which are suspected of having been deliberately lit. .....

"Although there appears to be an abundance of information concerning bushfires which has been distributed to the public,it is evident that this information has been largely ignored." he said

"For example, whilst Sydney's rainfall was the lowest on record in 126 years people still continue to disregard total fire bans".

In recent reports both the Australian Forestry Council and the Standing Committee on Environment and Conservation recommended the development of audio-visual material and education kits concerning bushfire topics which could be suitable at secondary school level.

It was also recommended that programs involve the community in field days or displays and lectures.

"However," said Mr Connolly" it is obvious that education programs are also required down to the Kindergarten level."

"Children need to be taught, both through the education system and their parents,that fire is not a harmless toy, but rather is 1 the cause of loss of life and extensive damage to property and the environment".

Contact:David Connolly or Louise Morrow 2393189/9