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Opposition calls for public inquiry into devastating Victorian bushfires

Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien has called for a public inquiry into the bushfire crisis that has devastated parts of the state.

The inquiry would hear from victims directly impacted by the fires as well as experts.

Mr O’Brien told Neil Mitchell he has concerns about the investigation announced by Premier Daniel Andrews, which would be lead by the Inspector General of Emergency Management Tony Pearce.

He said it should be a joint select committee of the parliament.

“One of the real concerns I’ve heard when I’ve been there speaking to people who have lost their homes – whether it’s up in the north east or in East Gippsland – people are saying not enough planned burning was done,” he said.

“We weren’t as prepared for this fire season as we should have been.”

Mr O’Brien said one of the key issues to be examined is the number of planned burns in the lead-up to the bushfire season, a key recommendation from the Black Saturday Royal Commission.

He is calling for a public inquiry to hear from residents in fire affected zones to have their say.

“We need to speak to people in these communities, the people know the environment better than I do being from Melbourne and better than most people do,” he said.

“We need to hear from them, we need to hear from the experts on the ground, let’s listen to them and let them tell us – could we have been better prepared for this fire season and what can we do to be safer next year?”

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