McKay: Hapless Emergency Services Minister Shows His Ignorance Of Tathra Fire

The NSW Labor Opposition is demanding to know why the Liberal Berejiklian Government is delaying a coronial inquiry in the 2018 Tathra bushfires. More than 18 months since the devastating blaze destroyed or damaged more than 100 homes, a firm date for a coronial inquiry to determine the cause hasn’t been set. And yet in Question Time in the NSW Parliament the Liberal Emergency Services Minister David Elliott not only claimed the inquiry had already been held but that the cause of the fire was already known. NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay visited Tathra on Saturday and spoke to those who lost everything about their ongoing hurt and heartache in the wake of the devastating blaze. Through Ms McKay’s discussion with residents, it was revealed some victims had received a letter from their insurer informing them a coronial inquiry wouldn’t happen until after June 2020 – more than two years since the disaster. Today during Question Time, Ms McKay asked Mr Elliott to confirm the cause so that residents can have the closure and compensation they need and deserve. But after attempting to dodge the question by stating he wasn’t the Minister responsible, Mr Elliot said a coronial inquiry was already underway, when it wasn’t.   “If you want to know the causes of the fire then look at the coroner’s inquiry,” he said Ms McKay said a preliminary investigation by the Rural Fire Service raises concerns about the maintenance of infrastructure by government-owned Essential Energy and a coronial inquiry is needed to officially establish the cause and origin of the bushfire. “Why is it taking so long for this important process to get underway? There are so many lessons that could be learnt from Tathra that could be applied elsewhere, such as in the current fire emergency in northern NSW.”  “These delays are preventing the people of Tathra from getting on with their lives, rebuilding and recovering the cost of uninsured losses.” “During my visit it was clear to me that the Tathra community wants to be heard and they deserve to be. This is about ensuring they get adequate compensation and also some sort of closure.”

Photo: Jodi McKay MP

“How can bushfire victims have any confidence in Mr Elliott as a Minister if he doesn’t even know if a coronial inquiry has been held into a previous disaster?” "His ignorance shows how unfit he is to be the Emergency Services Minister," said the NSW Labor Leader

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