Parole decision could come in weeks for Childers arsonist
IN JUST weeks, the man responsible for setting fire to the Palace Backpackers Hostel in Childers 20 years ago could know if his bid for freedom is successful.
Robert Paul Long made his parole bid earlier this year, just weeks from the 20th Anniversary of the fire which killed 15 innocent backpackers.
From there the parole board's decision was expected to come within 120 days.
In June, Bundaberg Regional Council Deputy Mayor Bill Trevor, who was the Isis Shire Mayor at the time of the fire, hand delivered victim impact statements to the president of the Queensland Parole Board Michael Byrne.
In light of Long's bid for parole, a petition was started to keep him behind bars, which has received more than 20,000 signatures.
Speaking at the 20th anniversary commemorations on June 23, Cr Trevor said long should stay where he is.
"Our message from the community is long and loud to the parole board, never let the bastard out, throw the key away," he said.
He said he was assured by the parole board president that the victim impact statements he delivered would be taken into consideration.
On that same day, survivor of the blaze Sarah Mahoney expressed her feelings about the possibility of Long being released.
"Why don't we just release Martin Bryant while we're at it if we're releasing the worst mass murderers," she said.
"How would the public feel if we released Martin Bryant? They shouldn't feel much different from this guy who's killed 15 people.
"I was always led to believe that he only got charged with two murders so that we could reopen the case and charge him for the other 13 if that was successful.
"That was successful, we need to reopen the case, charge him for 13 more murders and I want to charge him for attempted murder of me as well.
"And I'm sure the other people who survived want him charged for attempted murder as well."
The NewsMail has approached Queensland Corrective Services for comment.