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Neil Mitchell says Emergency Services Commissioner must answer to ‘obscene error’

Neil Mitchell
Article image for Neil Mitchell says Emergency Services Commissioner must answer to ‘obscene error’

Neil Mitchell says Emergency Services Commissioner Andrew Crisp’s failure to accept ADF help in the storm-hit Dandenong Ranges sooner was an “obscene error” and he must answer to it.

Elderly residents were sheltering in cold houses with no power, no water and no means of communication for more than a week before the state government put in a request for help from the army.

It’s now reported that Mr Crisp told politicians he was reluctant to call in the ADF because they did not have their own chainsaws.

“Last week I was screaming to get the ADF into the disaster in the hills — get them knocking on doors, clearing trees, helping with traffic, connecting power if possible,” Neil Mitchell said.

“At about the same time, the papers report today … Andrew Crisp was telling politicians ‘Oh no, we don’t need the defence force’.

“If this is true, it shows a staggering lack of understanding and you’d have to question his future.

“Elderly people were sheltering in cold houses, no power, no water, no heating, no communication.

“And he said that we didn’t need help reaching them!”

Neil Mitchell says if the disaster was overseas, the ADF would’ve been sent to assist.

“If there’s a tsunami in Asia we send in medical crews,” he said.

“The military have got highly trained medical crews … ready to jump in an aircraft and go there quickly for exactly these sort of circumstances. They should have bene there by Tuesday and they weren’t called in until Thursday or Friday!”

The 3AW Mornings host says Mr Crisp is a “decent and caring man”, but this was an “obscene error”.

“He’s got to answer to it.”

Press PLAY below to hear more from Neil Mitchell

3AW Mornings has requested an interview with Mr Crisp.

A statement from Emergency Management Victoria says “any request for Australian Defence Force assistance requires an initial impact assessment to determine what resources are required, and the capability gap the ADF could provide. This must include the number of people required and what work they will do

“This work was completed once the scale and complexity of the storm damage was assessed – as is standard process for any ADF request.

“A major part of the clean-up effort requires removing dangerous trees to re-establish access in particular areas – which is required to be carried out by trained arborists.”

Image (Crisp): Graham Denholm / Getty

Neil Mitchell
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