The West

Fire report timing cynical
Fire report timing "cynical"

The State Opposition has taken aim at Premier Colin Barnett for timing the release of key reports on the Margaret River and Nannup bushfires to coincide with an offer of increased compensation.

Mr Barnett told Parliament on Thursday the Government accepted liability for the Margaret River and Nannup fires and would meet all reasonable claims.

The fires started on November 23 last year as a result of escaped burns lit by the Department of Environment and Conservation.

The Premier said he was conscious property owners had been in “something of a limbo pending this decision” and thanked fire victims for their patience.

Opposition spokeswoman for Emergency Services Margaret Quirk said the Government tabled post incident analysis reports from consultant Noetic Solutions on Thursday, the last day of Parliament this year, to avoid debate.

“The Barnett Government received these reports in June but released them today, on the last day of Parliament and under the cover of the major announcement of compensation for Margaret River victims,” Ms Quirk said.

“This is an unbelievably cynical move to avoid close scrutiny and debate.”

In February, Margaret River property owners were offered $190,000 in compensation, but no such offer was made to Nannup’s fire victims.

Alison and Stewart Scott, who were among several Nannup farmers who lost property in last year’s bushfire, declined to comment.

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