East Gippsland Shire Council will write to the Victorian Government seeking the prioritisation of township protection operations for Marlo.
At its March 16 meeting, Council unanimously agreed to write to the Hon Lily D'Ambrosio (Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change) and the Hon Jane Garrett (Upper House Member for Eastern Victoria) to urgently request township protection operations for Marlo through strategic, mosaic or planned burning and vegetation management be prioritised.
Council will also request that limited resources are redirected to concentrate on bushfire risk mitigation measures on the areas next to towns in the shire, prioritising the protection of communities and assets over planned burns in uninhabited areas.
Deputy Mayor Cr Mark Reeves said severe fire impacted the area of Cape Conran and Marlo Plains during the Black Summer Fires.
“This fire devastated the Cape Conran Coastal Park infrastructure. The fire was racing towards Marlo when a providential wind change occurred. The township of Marlo cannot rely on the fickle provenance of wind and weather next time,” Cr Reeves said.
“The fact that a Mallacoota-like catastrophe did not occur at Marlo was mostly due to luck and not preventative management. During the Black Summer Fires period the Cape Conran Road vegetation was widened, and great effort was undertaken to ensure the road and transit security along the road.
“As a result of the clearing operations, considerable dried and heaped windrows remain along the Cape Conran Road. There is a sense and reality that the Cape Conran Coastal Park has not been strategically managed with burning for either regeneration, environmental or township protection for more than 20 years.
“The presence of large piles of now dried foliage along the roadside, plus the intense growth of the coastal vegetation, is acause for great concern for the community. The community feels that the opportunity to ensure the protection of the Marlo township is slipping away.
“The community wish for urgent management work be undertaken this autumn along the Cape Conran Coastal Park to protect Marlo from the next inferno and conflagration. There was much vigorous work undertaken in the fire period to strategically protect the township and it is hoped this can be continued.”