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Monitoring Orders Bill (Bushfires)

15 November 2022

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I rise to speak in relation to the monitoring orders bill. The Greens are supportive of this bill. We have seen the devastating effects of bushfires on our South Australian community. Over the last 20 years, we have had major bushfires on Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island and Yorke Peninsula, and in the Adelaide Hills and the Barossa. All of these fires have resulted in loss of life and property and have left lasting impacts on each of these regions.

The most recent bushfires that swept across South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria were in 2019 and are referred to as the Black Summer bushfires. Over 270,000 hectares of land were burnt in South Australia and resulted in more than 1,180 homes and buildings being destroyed or damaged, and three people tragically lost their lives. The recovery efforts continue, as people are still rebuilding their homes, fencing and their lives. I had the opportunity to travel to Kangaroo Island last year and met with a number of members of that community who are still trying to rebuild their lives after the bushfires that ravaged that community.

Our climate is changing, and it is widely accepted in the scientific community that bushfires will, unfortunately, increase in frequency in coming years. It is absolutely appalling that some bushfires are deliberately lit, particularly on days of high fire danger. That is a despicable thing to do and this is a view that I am sure is shared by all members of this place.

By monitoring people who have already been convicted of a bushfire offence, we can reduce incidences of fires being purposely lit during fire danger season. The Greens consider this to be an important protection for areas at risk of bushfires, and we believe this will help our emergency services stay ahead of any potential threats, particularly as we head into the bushfire season. I therefore indicate that the Greens will be supporting the bill and we recognise the government's efforts to try to reduce the risk of fires being purposely lit.