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The Honourable Steve Bracks.            8-4-03


As a along time labour supporter, and resident of the Otways, I am deeply concerned about the proposed inquiry regarding the boundaries for an enlarged Otway National Park.

This would be in breach of the Regional Forest Agreement, which you together with Prime Minister John Howard signed a short while ago.

The labour party that I supported was always fiercely independent for the underdog, the aged and the disadvantaged, and for the workers.

The modern trend to go cap in hand to minority groups in the hope of obtaining a few votes would not have been considered.


The present Government promised to govern for all people and has departed from this democratic principle by bowing to pressure from these groups who are backed by demonstrators working outside the laws of the State.


Some examples being invasion of Government authorised forest operations, damage to public and private property, denying workers the right to work and support themselves and their families, and not allowing people to use our natural resources.

It has become obvious that the State cannot manage the parks it controls at present.

Taking the degraded State forest and parks in the Otways as an example noting overgrown impassable tracks and roads, heavy fuel loadings, lack of fuel reduction measures and decreasing skilled staff have made the area a fire hazard not only to itself but to adjoining private land.


With due respect, Mr Bracks, I pose the following questions for consideration.


# Where or how will you get the trained fire fighters to control fires in the proposed unmanaged National Park? remembering many CFA members are the people disadvantaged by locking up the Otways into a large National Park.

In the past we have been able to call on logging crews and other forest workers with their skills and equipment for fire suppression in the forests,these will be no longer be there.

The CFA is primarily for fire suppression on private property and are not generally trained or equipped for fighting forest fires.


#How do you intend to manage the National Park for hazard reduction, the safety of the users, access for fire suppression, and the welfare of flora and fauna?

#How do you intend to finance the necessary staff required to service and maintain the National Park at world standard, as proposed by your Government?

                                Yours sincerely


 CC  John Thwaites                                                                  3236