’Shocking silence’: Fire Minister accused of ducking scrutiny
THERE'S been "shocking silence" from the state's Fire Minister Mark Ryan over the Fraser Island Emergency.
That was the claim from his LNP opponent, Shadow Fire Minister Dale Last, who took aim while also paying tribute to the exhausted fire crews and volunteers working on Fraser Island.
"Conditions deteriorated substantially on Sunday which pushed fire crews to the brink," Mr Last said.
"The community of Happy Valley was forced to leave as the fire crept closer, causing immense distress for locals.
"These fires have caused shocking damage, but what's more shocking is the silence from Fire Minister Mark Ryan.
"This Labor Minister has gone into hiding while Fraser Island is burning.
"He needs to front up.
"He needs to explain what the government knew about fire warnings and why they were ignored.
"He needs to explain why a multimillion dollar water bomber was parked in a hangar gathering dust in Bundaberg for a month.
"Queenslanders deserve to what the government could have done to prevent the spread of this fire.
"This is a World Heritage Listed site that has been treated appallingly from a weak Minister who is failing to take any responsibility for this unfolding disaster."
But Mr Ryan hit back on Monday, telling Mr Last: "If you're purporting to be the alternative Minister for Fire and Emergency Services, you've got to be better than this".
"What Dale Last is saying is patently untrue," he said.
"I did a media conference with the Fire Commissioner yesterday afternoon.
"If anyone's gone missing it's Dale Last.
"During a whole sitting week of Parliament last week, he waited until the dying minutes of Question Time on Friday to ask just one solitary question.
"He clearly hasn't learnt the lesson that thought bubbles and fabrications are simply not good enough in public life.
"I also delivered Ministerial Statements about these matters in Parliament.
"In addition, these are operational matters and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services has been conducting daily media conferences to keep the community informed.
A spokesman for the State Government hit back, saying Mr Ryan had spoken on the issue as recently as Sunday.
Yesterday Mr Ryan said there had been 1800 bushfires since the start of August.
"Some of these conditions are the driest and warmest in twenty years, and following on the back of Cyclone Debbie there are additional fuel load in parts of our state," Mr Ryan said.
He said Sunday had been a "tough day" when it came to fire fighting.