Workplace

ACF threatens Tennis Australia with Corporations Act

It was only a matter of time. The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has regurgitated a report it wrote on the increasing risks of heat stress on cricketers during Boxing Day tests by applying it the Australian Open tennis.

It chose the same partial voice to undertake the study.  The Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub (MCCCRH) openly states that it “conducts social research and leads impact focused projects to build media and policy infrastructure that adequately addresses climate change in Australia.”

Not balance. Just agenda based.

The main points were as follows:

“The MCCCRH finds”:

“Australian tennis is already experiencing the impact of climate change, with smoke from bushfires and extreme heat driven by climate change increasing health risks for players and the likelihood of match disruptions.

Haven’t we worked out that dreadful bush management is a root cause, not climate change? That despite 57 inquiries into bushfires since 1939 we still haven’t learnt how to maintain our bush land despite aborigines being successful custodians for 1,000s of years before climate change was even a thing? Incompetence seems to be the issue, not climate.

“Tennis authorities should consider a series of actions to protect players, such as extending the length of the tournament — to allow games to be cancelled in the hottest part of the day if it’s too hot on court — or moving the event to November or March.”

Has the ACF considered some players are fitter than others? Shouldn’t the players determine such things with TA, not a bunch of alarmists with an axe to grind?

“Climate change threats may soon represent ‘material financial issues’ for Tennis Australia and its directors, who could face liability under the Corporations Act for failing to adequately address and report these risks.

Do we really need to have the ACF resort to threats via the Corporations Act to shame Cricket Australia and Tennis Australia (TA) with unsettled science? Does it realize that corporations reporting on climate change has fallen to 14% from 22% over the last decade? 1000s of Aussie directors are already well aware of their risks without having the ACF throw the rule book in their face. So they disagree with you.

Will the ACF insure the risk of lost revenue if its alarmism they predict fails to eventuate? If the ACF is so confident in its prophecies it should have no qualms backing such a notion. Put its science where its mouth is.

On page 16, TA got a slap on the wrist for having ANZ as a sponsor because it supports the fossil fuel industry at $7.70 for every $1 it does on renewables. Could that be because of the relative risk profile, ACF? Does ANZ dictate to TA what it must do with the tournament other than contractually honour advertising exposure? Does TA have any rights to tell ANZ how it, a bank, deploys shareholder capital? No.

Although we do note the ACF commended TA for joining the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework and urges it to raise its voice for strong, meaningful climate action from our government.

The ACF should demand that TA restrict the Australian Open to players who walk, cycle or sail to the tournament. As the UN sports body states,

“Sport is not just a victim of climate change; it is also a contributor, through greenhouse gas emissions.

What better way to mitigate the dangers and show the very actions that will stop the climate emergency dead in its tracks by making the tennis players ditch fossil fuel derived transport of any sort to any future events and give up their carbon rackets and naphtha based synthetic clothing.

In closing, FNF Media hopes for the sake of consistency, that the ACF will guarantee it will publish a report on professional skiing competitions where skiers may have to brave record cold temperatures to compete? If such an event comes to pass, we can guarantee it would never see the light of day. After all we just had the coldest maximum summer temperature in history at Thredbo late last year.

By the way, here is the Melbourne forecast for the tournament and the peak temp hit in 1939.

Central banks are climate change experts now. If only they possessed such skill in their core competency

Are these people for real? Does the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) truly believe that world’s central banks will become “climate rescuers of last resort”? Do we really want our central banks to be more proactive in pushing governments toward a greener economy by suggesting a carbon tax as “first-best solution“? The problem with central bankers is that every problem looks like a nail when they only have a hammer in the toolkit.

First, on what level do central banks have a clue about climate change? If they had even the foggiest notion about the science they would never have embarked on a set of reckless monetary policy measures that created the very conditions for excessive debt, mal-investment and over-consumption which they now seek to punish us for via the adoption of a carbon tax.

We should not forget the almost $300 trillion of global debt now racked up thanks to abnormally low interest rates. It is politically expedient to run budget deficits too because central banks are only too happy to keep (near) ZIRP or NIRP which makes servicing ballooning deficits appear almost perpetually affordable with short term focused politicians. It is but a figment of their imagination.

How easy it is to sound the alarm on climate change to mask the policy blunders of the last two decades. It would be nice if we could believe they possessed expertise in their mandated role before embarking into a field they have no sound base to work from. It is a dangerous distraction.

It is worth citing a few examples of the record of central banks around the world since GFC.

In 2018, the US Fed stopped reporting changes in the balance sheet. It did this to prevent spooking the markets over tapering. It reminds FNF Media of the day Bernanke’s Fed announced it would no longer report M3 money supply a year before the financial markets headed into the GFC. Why is there a need for a lack of transparency if it wishes to instill market confidence via its policy settings?

Has the Fed reflected on the fact that over half of listed corporates have a credit rating of BBB or below? Ford Motor Co’s credit rating was downgraded by Moody’s to junk. $84bn worth of debt now no longer investment grade. It will be the first of many Fortune 500s to fall foul to this reality. In 2008, there was around $800bn of BBB status credit. That number exceeds $3.186 trillion today. Brought to you courtesy of low interest rates.

The Bank of Japan (BoJ) is now responsible for 60% of all ETF market ownership. Latest reports confirm the Bank of Japan (BoJ) has now become a top 10 shareholder in almost 50% of listed stocks. In a sense, we have a trend which threatens to turn Japan’s largest businesses into quasi-state-owned enterprises (SoE) by the back door. The BoJ now owns $250bn of listed Japanese equities. It is the top shareholder in household Japanese brands such as Omron, Nidec and Fanuc. At current investment rates, the BoJ is set to own $400bn worth of the market by 2020-end.

The BoJ’s manipulation of the JGB market caused several of the major Japanese banks to hand back their trading licenses because they served no purpose anymore given the central bank’s manipulation.

The ECB has dropped the ball in Europe. Jonathan Rochford of Narrowroad Capital wrote,

Many European banks have failed to use the last decade to materially de-risk. The most obvious outworking of this is that European banks continue to receive taxpayer funded bailouts, with Germany’s NordLB and Italy’s Banca Popolare di Bari both receiving lifelines this monthOne final issue that lurks particularly amongst European banks is their gaming of capital ratios. European banks have become masters of finding assets that require little risk capital but can generate a decent margin. Government debt from Italy is one example, with pressure now being put on the ECB to allow for unlimited purchases of Greek government debt. This would substantially increase the already significant “doom loop” risk. This risk arises from the potential for a default on government debt to bankrupt the banks, and the converse situation where failing banks look for a taxpayer bailout and bankrupt the country.

The list goes on and on. Central banks are in no position to lecture the rest of us on anything given their command of their core competence remains so flawed.

Global money velocity has been declining for two decades. Every dollar printed creates an ever shrinking fraction of GDP impact. Yet all we did was double down on all the failed measures that led us into the GFC

What we do know is that the BIS has sought the advice of literature professors to come up with the phrase that climate change presented a “colossal and potentially irreversible risk of staggering complexity.”

Really?

It is easy for the BIS to shout that a “green swan” event could send us into the financial abyss. However the reality is that dreadful stewardship of monetary conditions has set us up for a huge fall. Not a bushfire, storm or flood. Perhaps we might view a green swan event as wishful thinking by central banks because it would allow them to absolve themselves of all responsibility in getting us into this mess in the first place. They want to see themselves as saviors, not culprits.

Rochford sums up central banks brilliantly with this comment,

When it comes to central banks, I would prefer to believe it is a combination of groupthink, an unwillingness to take career risk by speaking the truth and a willingness to either ignore or disregard counter evidence that has resulted in the detrimental decisions since the financial crisis. However, the increasing amount of evidence, often produced by central banks themselves, points to central banks being more culpable than gullible.

So given this condition why on earth are we paying any attention to their prescriptions on saving the planet? When they quit the excuses and fess up that the last two decades of monetary policy has failed to fix the excesses built in the system then we might lend an ear. Until then they join the list of government agencies who don’t want to be caught out not being in line with the settled politics. Truly sick.

Surely there must be some mistake?!

Has the World Economic Forum (WEF) taken leave of its senses? Not even we think President Trump is a “world-class speaker” despite his capacity to draw huge crowds and make us all sit up and listen. There is a touch of irony to see Trump included by the WEF in this category. Poor old Al Gore will speak but presumably dud predictions has put him on the B-list.

A brief study of the upcoming live sessions published by the WEF reveals it isn’t hard to work out what an utter waste of aviation fuel the summit will be. Woke causes feature broadly. See the following list of live streams available;

The 26th Annual Crystal Award Ceremony

Join us in honouring exceptional Cultural Leaders who are improving the state of the world through their outstanding contributions to inclusive and sustainable change.

Redesigning Democracy in the Digital Age

From data dignity to quadratic voting, join economist and best-selling author Glen Weyl for an exploration of radical solutions to societal decision-making in the wake of unprecedented technological change.

The Fight for Artistic Freedom

Join Wanuri Kahiu on her journey from filmmaker to unintentional leader for freedom of expression in Kenya after her film.

On Music and the Human Spirit

On the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, conductor Marin Alsop shares lessons on how music can help cultivate joy in the darkest of times.

The Reality of Racial Bias

From politics to the public sector and from housing to education, racial bias perpetuates a crushing structural disadvantage for people around the globe. Join Phillip Atiba Goff as he illustrates how data and evidence-based approaches can be used to turn racial bias into a solvable problem.

The Role of Faith for a Cohesive and Sustainable World

Eighty-four per cent of the global population identifies with a religious group. With eroding social cohesion and near climate breakdown, how can the power of faith foster a cohesive and sustainable world?

Musical Moments: Yo-Yo Ma plays Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, 2008 Crystal Awardee and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Board of Trustees, performs Bach’s Suite for Solo Cello No. 1 to inspire a conversation about how culture helps us to seek truth, build trust and act in service of one another.

Free to Be (LGBTI)

Fifty years after the Stonewall riots in New York and the birth of the gay liberation movement, LGBTI youth still face rejection and discrimination, resulting in high mental illness and suicide rates among LGBTI youth. How can schools and families contribute to safe and inclusive environments for all?

Seeing the Other

Join photojournalist Rena Effendi to learn about her mission to give a voice to the voiceless through her collection of portraits and places celebrating the strength of the human spirit. Rena Effendi is a Fellow of the New Narratives Lab, a mentorship programme dedicated to fostering a new and diverse generation of cultural leaders.

An Insight, An Idea with Jin Xing

A conversation with choreographer and 2020 Crystal Awardee Jin Xing on her journey from male army colonel to one of China’s most influential female TV personalities.

The Power of Youth

From the 2018 March for Our Lives fighting for gun control in the US to the Global Climate Strike in 2019, young people are mobilizing and increasingly influencing today’s most pressing political and environmental issues. How can these movements transform their will for change into action?

The Beauty of Inclusion

Join Thando Hopa, the first woman with albinism to appear on the cover of Vogue, on her journey to unearth the missing stories needed to achieve equality for all persons. Thando Hopa is a Fellow of the New Narratives Lab, a mentorship programme dedicated to fostering a new and diverse generation of Cultural Leaders.

A Conversation with will.i.am

Join a conversation with musician will.i.am and young activist Naomi Wadler on the fight to end gun violence, and how they are influencing policy change and inspiring the next generation.

Augmented Voices

Join vocalist and researcher Harry Yeff, also known as Reeps100, who reveals our true range of communication and the hidden potential of the human voice.

How to Turn Protest into Progress

Anti-government protests fuelled by anger about inequality, corruption and political repression are paralysing cities and nations. How can movements transition from protest to political change more effectively? This session was developed in partnership with Tortoise Media.

Power of Narratives

Powerful narratives, consisting of shared causal and principled beliefs, are the prerequisite for human collaboration, yet also lead nations to war and move markets. How might societies co-create powerful narratives for a cohesive and sustainable world?

Being Out and Equal

While openness about being LGBTI at work increases well-being and productivity, more than half of the community avoids being open about their sexual orientation and gender identity in professional settings for fear of negative consequences. What are best practices to create open and inclusive workplaces for all? Access the Platform for Shaping the Future of the New Economy and Society on TopLink.

Although we shouldn’t be too critical of WEF. Economics does find its way into the subject matter.

Behind close doors, we note that Greta Thunberg will speak on a panel discussing “Averting a Climate Apocalypse“, Al Gore will speak on “What’s at stake: The Arctic” and Christina Figueres will speak on “Swapping subsidies for Green Incentives.” Precious little open-mindedness to be expected in those sessions.

Other topics will include the following;

After Brexit: Renewing Europe’s Growth

As the European Central Bank maintains interest rates at record lows, the economic forecast for the region remains weaker than desired. What will a new Commission and the eventual withdrawal of the United Kingdom mean for the European economy?

Shaping the Global Growth Agenda

In 2019, global debt levels soared to a record $250 trillion, alongside a “race to the bottom” for interest rates. What level of debt, inflation and interest rates are healthy for economies to grow?

Stakeholder Capitalism: Creating Common Standards for Social Excellence

From supply chain labour standards to operating in conflict-affected regions, navigating the social responsibilities of a company is a complex endeavour. What difficult decisions are chief executives facing in the pivot towards a broader social purpose?

In the face of all the dire predictions of climate doom to be reported by the media, we can be rest assured the assembled globalists will be telling our government officials that we minions stand the best chance of survival – economic, environmental and otherwise – if we submit to their superior intelligence.

50 years of Davoz. The Global Shapers will be the rope the Multistakeholders use to hang the rest of us with

Davos is upon us. That event where the world’s elite congregate via private jet and helicopter transport to tell the rest of us to reconsider our use of a second hand SUV to take the kids to soccer practice for the sake of the planet.

This event marks 50 years. What started as a good idea is now nothing more than a networking event for crony capitalists looking to exploit gutless governments into backing their schemes and ridiculing those that don’t sign up for multi-million dollar memberships.

We should applaud the World Economic Forum (WEF) for helping perpetuate the culture of systemically brainwashing our youth.

In the 2020 Global Risks report, we get the following table which highlights adults (‘Multistakeholders’) and the youth (‘Global Shapers’). Who knew that environmental issues took the Top 5 positions among the kids? Privacy be damned. Adults were more concerned with politics and trade wars. Hint hint President Trump.

The long term outlook produced even more drama. The adults seem to have appeased the kids on climate but their private jet powered life styles at the very least mention global governance failure and the risk of asset bubbles popping.

The youth on the other hand ramped up the global warming rhetoric to 11. The Top 6 concerns are climate and #8 turns out to be about climate refugees. That’s the result of a Marxist education, one that NZ is only too proud to boast about. Forget rational debate to engage kids on how to see two sides of an argument. They will be admonished for speaking out against the orthodoxy. Or doxxed on social media. Or both. Is it any wonder we have a mental health crisis?

Although it is worth mentioning that the deteriorating global economic fundamentals highlighted in the same report risk handing the kids their ideal utopia by way of a deep recession thanks to excessive global debt levels and low interest rates. It is unlikely these self-entitled ‘Global Shapers’ have ever contemplated, much less lived through such an outcome with all of their earth ending hysteria. Best tell them that if they pursue their dream of 100% renewables and zero carbon emissions they can bask in the shared misery of having let their teachers blindly mislead them by never challenging them on anything. Experience is a hard teacher. They’ll get the test first and the lesson afterwards. But such reality will be too late and take decades to fix.

Perhaps these ‘Global Shapers’ would do well to study the reasons why inequality and social upheaval will continue to grow if the world pursues the barking mad drive to decarbonise the world. The report even makes a point to talk of the disruption in France by the yellow vests. It noted,

In France, for example, the persistence of the “gilets jaunes” movement had caused businesses more than US$11.4 billion in losses by December 2019 and complicated the government’s plans for economic revival.

The yellow vests are protesting over regulation and climate related taxes.

Under the chapter of ’10 years left’, we got the following passage which is full of untruths as to beggar belief.

Governments, markets and, in an increasing number of societies, voters are awakening to the urgent realities of climate change—it is striking harder and more rapidly than many expected. The last five years are on track to be the warmest on record. Climate-related natural disasters such as hurricanes, droughts and wildfires are becoming more intense and more frequent, reportedly now averaging a disaster a week. Polar ice is melting more quickly than anticipated, with drastic implications for sea levels and coastal populations. Severe weather is worsening: the last year witnessed unprecedented wildfires and devasting storms across the globe, sea ice loss in the Arctic and record-breaking heatwaves in Europe.”

Yet how was it that Queenslanders voted to keep the incumbent government in power because of its support for a coal mine? Why is China committing to 300-500 new coal-fired power plants?

How is it that the UN has reported categorically that it has ‘low confidence’ on any shift in the behaviour of natural disasters? In the UNIPCC’s March 2018 report on weather extremes with respect to anthropogenic induced global warming) it says,

“…There is low confidence in observed trends in small-scale phenomena such as tornadoes and hail because of data inhomogeneities and inadequacies in monitoring systemsin some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, in central North America and northwestern Australia. There is limited to medium evidence available to assess climate-driven observed changes in the magnitude and frequency of floodslow confidence for the attribution of any detectable changes in tropical cyclone activity to anthropogenic influences..low confidence in projections of changes in extreme winds.. low confidence in projections of changes in monsoonslow confidence in wave height projections…overall low confidence because of inconsistent projections of drought changes…low confidencein projected future changes in dust storms…low confidence in projections of an anthropogenic effect on phenomena such as shallow landslides.”

Where is the evidence of 10s of millions of climate refugees fleeing rising sea levels an coastal populations?

Virginie K. E. Duvat of the Institut du Littoral et de l’Environnement, University of la Rochelle-CNRS, La Rochelle sponsored by the French National Research Agency; French Ministry of Environment, Energy and Oceans (MEEM) wrote.

Analysis “using tide gauges and satellites showed 30 Pacific and Indian Ocean atolls including 709 islands, revealed that no atoll lost land area and that 88.6% of islands were either stable or increased in area, while only 11.4% contracted.

This confirms a 2010 study by Webb & Kench which revealed,

that 86% of islands remained stable (43%) or increased in area (43%) over the timeframe of analysis. Largest decadal rates of increase in island area range between 0.1 to 5.6 ha. Only 14% of study islands exhibited a net reduction in island area. Despite small net changes in area, islands exhibited larger gross changes.

There is even reference to properties sold in Florida and the risk they become uninsurable. Then why is the Florida house price index at record highs?

What about record breaking cold waves in Europe and Canada? Unprecedented wildfires and storms? Not according to the data.

Unprecedented media sensationalism more like it.

One comment made in the report was the fact that 14x more women die than men during natural disasters. Is this proof there are only two biological genders or are the studies on non-binary deaths during disasters incomplete? This may have to be a separate break out session.

The report also issues this stark warning.

Aside from a number of vanguard first-mover champions, most companies, too, appear ill-equipped to address climate risk.

Ill-equipped or paying lip service?

Take Josh Bayliss, CEO of Virgin Group. He said,

“It’s definitely true that right now every one of us should think hard about whether or not we need to take a flight.”

Why doesn’t he close down the airlines in the portfolio? Instead of waiting for his customers to grow a conscience and do the right thing why not force their choice? The obvious answer is that it’s hypocritical.

Yet even our own ASIC feels the need to force the minds of corporates to deal with climate change. Forget the data that shows reporting on the subject has collapsed since 2011 from an already low level because the free market mechanism reveals that pricing to offset such fears simply don’t exist in any meaningful way. The regulator’s wish to enforce reporting only proves it needs to construct a narrative to ward off a problem that doesn’t rate much of mention other than virtue signaling.

Perhaps this urgency to get regulators to pressure corporate leaders showed up with this snippet in the WEF report,

In the World Economic Forum’s survey of business leaders, none of the top 10 risks globally are environmental, suggesting a critical blind spot…industry partners of the World Economic Forum ranked environmental risks higher than business leaders surveyed more broadly…Overall, lack of consistent awareness-raising among business leaders may create first-mover advantages for some, but it also potentially demonstrates the much more concerning overarching risk: that many businesses may not be planning for the physical and financial risks that climate change may have on their activities and across their value chains.

So in plain English that says that the majority of corporates that don’t pay into the WEF’s Davos slush fund are evil and if we can get the governments of the world to force change, its members will be the first beneficiaries of any new climate legislation.

Yes, Global Shapers are merely the rope that the Multistakeholders will use to lynch the rest of us with.

Did spending $1bn more on fire services in 2018-19 just end up in smoke?

Based on a request for further data across more fire services in Australia, it is clear that funding hasn’t been a problem. It seems allocation of those funds must be. As we showed in the NSW RFS and VIC CFA reports, expenditure seemed to be directed at increasing staff in administration accompanied by higher salaries instead of equipment, where numbers went down.

Expenditures, not revenues are a better place to look because more than income, spending denotes actual deployment of capital. Note most of the country’s fire services spend more than they earn so as government entities, the state governments back and fill those budget holes. So what might not appear purely as a direct appropriation from a state government at the start of the year, someone has to shore up the deficit. Note many fire services keep the earnings from fire levies and other quasi-taxation lines so that doesn’t show up in the budget line.

More importantly, were expenses allocated sensibly we could reasonably argue that the so called “budget cuts” the media keeps banging on about clearly weren’t having any impact on their ability to spend an extra $956.4mn over and above the 2014-15 aggregate figure. That’s an average 33% increase.

We looked at 8 fire service across the country and compared 2014-15 spending to the latest 2018-19 published figures. Here are the results.

Fire & Rescue NSW

$674m -> $814m ( +20.7%)

NSW RFS

$311.2m -> $554.8m (+78.2%)

Victorian MFB

$372.5m -> $507.7m (+36.3%)

Victorian CFA

$484.8m -> $656.7m (+35.5%)

Queensland FES

$569.9m -> $724.6m (+27.1%)

WA DFES

$359.8m -> $435.5m (+21%)

SA CFS

$74m -> $89m (+20.4%)

Tasmanian TFS

$76.2m -> $96.6m (+26.8%)

Not a lot of budget crimp in there. If budgets were being so drastically cut no amount of calendars featuring fire fighters clutching puppies would make up the short fall. More than that, state governments would have tried to ratchet back the deficits in the future budgets. Yet they didn’t.

So once again if we look at the direct appropriations from the states as a line item we get:

Fire & Rescue NSW

$603m -> $724m ( +20.1%)

NSW RFS

$149m -> $491m (+329.5%)

Victorian MFB

$325.7m -> $414.3m (+27.2%)

Victorian CFA

$451.2m -> $622.2m (+37.9%)

Queensland FES

$494.7m -> $561.2m (+13.4%)

WA DFES

$303.7m -> $418m (+37.6%)

SA CFS

$74.9m -> $77.4m (+3.3%)

Tasmanian TFS

$57.8m -> $66.8m (+15.6%)

So in every case, government spending (whether state or federal) and the state levies these bodies can charge, went up on 2014/15.

Pity the media keeps jabbing with budget cut narratives when the numbers simply don’t paint that picture.

As we’ve said all along, we need to take a long hard look at who have been making the decisions inside the fire service administrations (not the front line fire fighters) before we start pinning medals to their chests.

Await the arse covering

An interesting report written last year has surfaced which points to woeful mismanagement of the fuel loads in Victoria.

While we continue to applaud the brave efforts of the front line fireys battling these blazes, it is becoming hard to ignore the seeming negligence within the senior administration of the fire services.

We’ve already pointed to the rising fire service budgets and declining numbers of fire fighting equipment deployed. We have highlighted the poor equipment choices made. We have reported on volunteer crews being turned away despite assurances from leaders that “all” help was welcomed. Is it any wonder volunteer numbers have dwindled? We have debunked the myth of the 29 retired fire chiefs bleating about climate change when it has hardly been mentioned at all in the annual reports of the authorities they ran.

The Weekly Times has reported,

Last year ‘The Weekly Times’ attempted to obtain copies of the Fuel-Load Maps for Victoria, showing the Fine-Fuel build up throughout that state from the Victorian Government.

The fine fuels are critical, as according to the ‘Overall Fuel Hazard Assessment Guide’, written by Francis Hines, Kevin Tolhurst and other bushfire experts in 2010 following the Black Saturday fires;

“They (fine fuels) contribute the most to the fire’s rate of spread and flame height. Typically, they are dead plant material, such as leaves, grass, bark and twigs thinner than 6mm thick, and live plant material thinner than 3mm thick, that burn in the continuous flaming zone at the fire’s edge.’’

However, the Victorian Government’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning spent months trying to block The Weekly Times’ access to these fuel load maps, repeatedly refusing to release data.

In August last year DELWP staff stated: “The fuel load data is only published to Business Level Data (an internal system)”.

After repeated delays, emails and calls, the DELWP came back almost 12 months later stating;

“This information is not something that DELWP typically provides and the department has some concerns with this information being made publicly accessible”.

Ultimately The Weekly Times lodged a Freedom of Information request for five years of data for the whole state, but cut back the request to one map after DELWP demanded $1294.80 to process the request.

So the rest of the fine-fuel maps remain hidden from the public. I wonder what the maps for the Alpine and Greater Gippsland show.

Back in October, the Vic Opposition emergency services spokesman Brad Battin said the Andrews Government’s “attempt to hide information that has a direct impact on community safety” should concern all who live in high fire-danger areas.

“The only reason the Victorian Labor Government would hide this important data is they have failed to meet their targets to protect Victoria this fire season,” Mr Battin said.

“With levels of fuel at extreme, a predicted dry and hot summer and a reduction in volunteer firefighters we can only say not only has (Premier) Daniel Andrews made you less safe, he now will do anything to hide the truth from you.”

The attempt to hide the maps is a scandal, firstly because the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission’s recommended that the department “specify the characteristics of fire management zones — including burn size, percentage area burnt within the prescribed burn, and residual fuel loading”.

But as it stands DELWP’s Forest Fire Management Victoria division publishes data only on residual risk, which is derived from a computer model, which gives no detail on fuel loads, which were used in the past.

Secondly, the Royal Commission also recommended the “state fund and commit to implementing a long-term program of prescribed burning based on an annual rolling target of 5 per cent minimum of public land”, equal to 385,000ha annually.

But the Victorian Government abandoned hectare-based targets in 2015, opting for a ‘computer modelled measure of residual risk’ – a model has been roundly condemned by Australia’s leading bushfire scientists.

The Weekly Times has previously reported the former head of CSIRO’s bushfire research unit Phil Cheney has branded residual risk a “load of bulls—”, arguing “fuel load is the only thing that matters”.

Using the Royal Commission’s target of a minimum of 390,000Ha of annual hazard reduction burns across Victoria, the actual planned burnt areas were;

2018-19 : 130,000 Deficit- 260,000

2017-18: 74,728 Deficit- 315,272

2016-17 : 125,052 Deficit- 264,948

2015-16 : 197,940 Deficit- 192,060

That’s a cumulative deficit over the last 4 years under the Victorian Labor government of over one million hectares of land.

Having allowed this massive build up of highly combustible leaves, bark and twigs to new extreme levels – no wonder the green zealots are busy trying to create a distraction claiming ‘’climate change did it’’

As a rule of thumb, the louder someone screams ‘’climate change did it’’ and more they use the strawman argument about ‘’climate change deniers’’ as a distraction- you can bet the more guilty they are for allowing the ‘unprecedented’ build-up of fine fuels in our national parks.”

FNF Media strongly believes that information garnered by taxpayer funding have zero rights to withhold information much less charge for it.

This news piece rates up there with BoM refusing to disclose the methodology which it uses to record data. If it is the gold standard surely there should be nothing to hide and more importantly, something to boast about and sell to the world.

Perhaps ASX listed companies should protest and demand that ASIC allow them to audit their own books. After all “trust us” seems to work for government agencies.

No sacred cows please.

Is this why impeachment took so long to send to the Senate?

Nancy Pelosi was waiting on those customized pens to arrive from China.