The Gippsland Strategic Bushfire Management (SBMP) Phase 3 Engage Victoria consultation was open from 29 July to 19 August 2019.
The survey was the last in a series of online consultations conducted at different stages during the development of the Gippsland Strategic Bushfire Management Plan. Earlier surveys sought community opinion about the values and objectives that should guide bushfire management planning in Gippsland, ideas for how agencies and individuals could reduce bushfire risk on both public and private land and feedback on alternative strategies for fuel management on public land and priority fuel management areas for both public and private land.
The Gippsland SBMP Phase #3 engagement sought community opinion on the proposed strategic fuel management plan for Gippsland, including the values and objectives for bushfire management, the proposed Fire Management Zones (FMZ) and the proposed Priority Fuel Management Areas (PFMAs). In addition to commenting on the proposed strategy people were asked their opinions on the engagement process, their level of interest in prevention and suppression planning and where they would like future strategic planning efforts to be focused. They also had the opportunity to comment directly on a Social Map showing proposed Fire Management Zones (FMZs) on public land.
136 people participated in the survey and there were 170 contributions to the FMZ map.
63 (46%) had participated in one or more of the previous Engage Victoria surveys and 33 (24%) had participated in all three earlier surveys.
Most participants found out about the survey through previous participation, social media or direct emails.
All municipalities were represented with East Gippsland residents accounting for 45% (61) of responses.
71 (52%) of respondents said they liked or could live with the strategy and 65 (48%) said they did not like it.
Those who based their decision on PFMAs had a higher rate (78%) of acceptance than those who based it on objectives, FMZ or other factors.
Those who cited ‘other’ reasons for their decision were the least likely to accept the strategy.
105 (62%) of the comments on the FMZ map (62%) were attributable to 5 participants who opposed any planned burning.
Participation in conservation or natural history past-times was influential in acceptance levels of the proposed strategy.
Where possible the results of the Phase 3 engagement are informing modifications to the Gippsland Fire Management Zones and will be considered in the design and implementation of future consultation and engagement strategies for bushfire management planning.