An aerial shot of damage at Deepwater.
An aerial shot of damage at Deepwater.

Deepwater update: Burning issues to be reviewed

IN THE wake of the state's unprecedented bushfire disaster, mounting concern about what led to the emergency situation, and whether it could have been handled differently, will be addressed as part of the state's independent review.

It's expected Labor's vegetation management laws will be heavily scrutinised, with a chorus of voices now laying blame with the legislation and demanding a more in-depth investigation in the form of a parliamentary inquiry into the two-week crisis.

Deepwater became the epi-centre of an inferno fuelled by heatwave conditions that saw more than 100 fires burning simultaneously across the state.

Residents from the small community spent more than a week in evacuation centres or with friends, families or at accommodation facilities that opened their doors as the blaze raged on.

So far across the state 479 assessments have been carried out in 35 impacted suburbs across eight local government areas, including Gladstone.

Queensland Reconstitution Authority has now taken charge of the assessment and expect it will be at least a week before the figures can be definitively broken down into local government areas.

As of late yesterday across the state, 17 dwellings had been assessed as damaged, with nine destroyed and the other eight with varying degrees of damage.

Another 27 sheds or other structures have been destroyed and 45 damaged, while 37 properties have damaged machinery or vehicles.

Yesterday a spokesman for the Premier's office confirmed an independent examination would be conducted looking at a number of factors, including what lessons could be learnt.

"As is routine after an event of this nature, the Inspector-General of Emergency Management will be conducting an independent examination of the event, underpinned by aspects of the Standard for Disaster Management in Queensland," he said.

"This examination will focus on the effectiveness of the response, measured against aspects of the standard and any lessons that stem from that."

It came as Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett and Prime Minister Scott Morrison backed calls for a parliamentary inquiry into what, if any, role the state's land clearing laws had played in the disaster.

"The Queensland state government is negligent when it comes to how they are handling these native vegetation laws," Mr Morrison told Sydney radio station 2GB yesterday.

Mr Bennett said the community deserved answers following two weeks of shattering destruction and heartache.

"Concerns are being raised by many in the electorate about land management practices to manage fuel loads, how our national parks are managed and what landholders also want to do to protect their property and livestock," he said.

But Queensland Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said the laws played no part in the fires and slammed the Liberal National Party opposition for creating confusion among landholders about what they could and could not do.

"You can still clear firebreaks, clear tracks, make sure your family home is safe," he said.

"You can also perform routine burning on your property to make sure the fire load is kept down."

Since November 22, bushfires have scorched more than a million hectares of land in central and southern Queensland, or 0.6 per cent of the state.

Yesterday the Insurance Council of Australia confirmed they had so far received 50-60 claims from the entire bushfire-affected area.

- With AAP



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