About Dr Christine Finlay
For 20 years I have been trying to get out my whistle-blowing findings that killing vast swathes of native animals and 100s of people, the firestorm crisis is similar to historic massacres of Aboriginal people. I found the firestorm crisis is caused by:
1. Catastrophic fuel loads accumulated since the 1920s, particularly in national parks.
2. Bushfire service operations geared to allow potentially dangerous fires to build in extreme weather.
I have been on the dole on and off ever since I stumbled on the vast amount of evidence I present in my PhD - Smokescreen: Black/White/Male/Female Bravery and SE Australian Bushfires. Firestorms are preventable and there is a huge amount of evidence that semi-naked Aborigines managed and still manage bushfires superbly without boots, trucks or even a box of matches. The massacre can be ended for peanuts.
If rural people escape incineration but get burnt out, they suffer financially. They lose stock, homes, sheds, crops and/or feed. If they lose their home, they have to rebuild to new, expensive codes created and administered by bushfire services. Victims don't get compensation for the added building costs of the new bushfire codes. These new building codes cost tens of $thousands extra for steel shutters, fireproof glass, bronze or stainless steel door and window flyscreens etc etc...
Victims lose tens of kilometres of fences per property. Victims only get compensation for a small proportion of fencing costs - just a partial payment of the cost of a contractor charging on average $4,000 to $18,000 per km of fence depending on topography. If victims do back breaking fencing work on their own without contractors and nothing changes in bushfire management, victims face losing fences, stock and feed again the same way.
Firestorms leave fuel loads the same or higher, unlike cool burning or grazing. So the next bushfire will be as hot or hotter. So victims inevitably face more losses down the track. I have watched people slowly being destroyed financially and psychologically - struggling to get back what they lost - pitted against teams of the best lawyers governments can buy. Please click http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/court-dismisses-landholders-appeal-over-2003-canberra-bushfire-20141030-11erfq.html to read of Wayne West's 10-year battle that ended with no compensation and a huge bill.
Even though bushfire service texts state those acts and omissions would lead to death, injury and property damage, judges told Mr West that s.128 of the NSW Rural Fires Act gives the RFS immunity for an act or omission. The 2003 fire tornado was one of the biggest in recorded history, but the judges claimed that there was insufficient evidence to show fuel loads caused the fire. A researcher from Monash University, who relies on bushfire services to greenlight his fundings, told the court there was only evidence fuel loads were 14 tonnes per hectare - an amount insufficient to produce a fire tornado. This academic inferred some mysterious source (perhaps Mother Nature or climate change?) caused the apocalyptic fire.
The judges also ruled unanimously that s.128 of the act exempts the RFS of any duty of care to landholders.
It seems obvious to me and farmers threatened by bushfires that a government cannot legislate so its office holders can recklessly take lives, cause injury and destroy property with impunity. I refer to s.18 of the Crimes Act NSW, which contradicts s.128 of the Rural Fires Act NSW. There is also legislation on reckless grievous bodily harm and property damage to consider.
Blazeaid (go to http://blazeaid.com.au/) is a charity without the resources to restore people completely back to where they once were. Slowly landholders get ground into the dust, Researchers like me who have pointed to how preventable it all is, share a similar fate.
I can't get a job no matter no hard I try. Twenty years of writing job applications proved no one will employ a PhD to work as a secretary, bus driver, cleaner, cook etc etc so less qualified work is out as an option. Bushfire services control research funding in my field so naturally I can't get work as a researcher. I hate the grinding poverty of being a whistleblower. I struggle to keep my teeth in my head because dentistry is so expensive. I struggle to keep my bomb of a car on the road. I struggle to keep happy because I can never going on nice holidays or use my years of research skills so I have a purpose in life. Going to the dole office to report yet again on why it is proving impossible to get a job is heart breaking.