Is department above the law?

The Department of Environment and Primary Industries considers it is well-advanced with its controlled burning program, but I wonder if it or its employees are above the law.

On March 26 there was a disastrous fire in the Ballarat area.

That same day a controlled environmental burn of 50 hectares in the Mirboo North-Allambee area breached containment lines and, the following morning, grew to 569 hectares before it was contained on March 29.

This fire burnt through 267 hectares of Mirboo North regional park, 150 hectares of Hancock Victorian Plantations pine and blue gum, 108 hectares of private bush land and 44 hectares of private pastures.

According to a DEPI spokesperson, 11 kilometres of fencing and 100 large rolls of hay were destroyed, and one shed and one stockyard were damaged, no houses were damaged but some livestock were still unaccounted for at that time.

If a private person tried burning during the fire period they would be arrested and possibly jailed.

Department employees can evidently go home after their day’s burning.

In this particular case of not being present during the night, the next morning they found the fire had breached its containment lines, with disastrous results.