Is birdlife more valuable than human life?

March 05, 2019

A Victorian farming community is counting the cost of a devastating blaze that razed homes and businesses as the fire threat continues across Victoria and bushfire victims say there aren't enough controlled burn-offs because of Greens' concerns about wildlife.

The Conservative Party will always put human life above animal life as Victoria's Andrews government continues to risk human lives and property by prioritising environmental concerns.

The Advertiser reports, in what marks the most destructive fire in a decade, residents of the country hamlet of Tonimbuk, 70km southeast of Melbourne, braced for the worst with reports the entire region had been “wiped off the map”.

It comes as victims yesterday took aim at the Victorian government and its agency Parks Victoria for not acting on the Black Saturday royal commission recommendations to increase controlled burns.

The CFA also faced criticism for “hanging back” rather than helping residents desperate to save properties.

Winemaker Andrew Clarke, of Jinks Creek, fled the fire with his family.

They experienced the heartbreak of watching on television as their wine bar, gallery and accommodation burned down.

“It is my life’s work … it is all gone,” Mr Clarke said.

“I don’t have any way of earning any money. I don’t know what to do. I have to support my family, so I’m stuffed, pretty much.”

He said bushfire risk mitigation work by Parks Victoria in the area could have made a difference.

“The ferocity of that fire wouldn’t have been as much if they had been doing what they are meant to do,” he said.

Tonimbuk resident Karen, who also lost her home, agreed with that criticism. “No one’s done anything out there for years,” she said.

She said locals had been notified there would be fuel reduction burns — the notice is still on her fridge — but these had never occurred.

When Black Saturday brought flames to the front of Herald Sun cartoonist Mark Knight’s property at Tonimbuk a decade ago, Country Fire Authority firefighters were there to help.

But at the weekend, when the Bunyip blaze burnt everything but his house, they were nowhere to be seen.

To read Aaron Langmaid, Monique Hore, Genevieve Alison and Rachel Baxendale's full story, click here.

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