Tweed Daily News

Fire deaths unnecessary

TERRANORA'S Kerry Plowright believes some of the 173 lives lost during the Black Saturday bushfires could have been saved if the Victorian Government had used his emergency warning system.

The Early Warning Network (EWN) founder said he offered the advanced phone alert system to all levels of gov- ernment across Australia, including Victoria, in 2007 with none of the onerous set-up costs demanded by Telstra for their similar CIWS.

“There is still no system in place, no less threat and no immediate action, to our knowledge, under consideration,” Mr Plowright said.

These points and others are in a submission Mr Plowright lodged to the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission this week.

“I have been bashing my ahead against a brick wall for two years,” Mr Plowright told the Tweed Daily News.

“I'm sick of apathetic councillors and bureaucrats. If they care about public safety they should be supporting one of the world's most innovative initiatives in early warning services and technology.

“In other words they should get off their arse and help.”

Mr Plowright is hoping the Victorian disaster will encourage more local councils, including Tweed Shire, to adopt the EWN.

“I think its time our local councils got off their behinds as well,” he said.

“We have several thousand members in the area here who enjoy the service. Councils not supporting this are failing their community.”

Mr Plowright said the recent severe weather should have reminded autho- rities that the risk of a catastrophic event is still extreme.

“The next disaster could happen in the next few minutes, and to have no system in place at all repeats the mistake made prior to Black Saturday.”

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