Adjournment – Parks Victoria response to Narrawong reserve incident

My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change and the action I seek is for the minister to provide an update about actions taken within Parks Victoria following a serious incident in the Narrawong Flora Reserve, which resulted in the injury of two motorcyclists. In November 2018 two motorbike riders were seriously injured when they struck a cable suspended across a track in the reserve while travelling around 70 kilometres per hour.

One required surgery for vertebrate and pelvis fractures as well as internal injuries while his companion suffered a broken collarbone and arm, fractured wrist and torn rib cage. In April this year a court found Parks Victoria had mistakenly left the barriers in place.

An investigation found the barriers were erected as part of seasonal closures but were not removed in line with reopening dates published by Parks Victoria because of staff shortages and because there was no inspection process for these types of closures. Parks Victoria was fined $100 000 and ordered to pay nearly $4000 in costs after pleading guilty to failing to ensure persons other than employees were not exposed to health or safety risks.

This incident poses several questions that need to be answered to ensure Parks has the right policies and procedures in place to make sure this does not happen again.

Given one of the reasons for these barriers being left in place was staff shortages, is Parks Victoria, particularly in the south-west region, now appropriately resourced to ensure people are safe while using our parks and reserves? Has this incident led to a review of the policy around road closures and reopenings? Do Parks Victoria have a policy in place that prioritises road closures or was this a decision taken without reference to a policy or risk-based framework? What was the basis for the decision? Who authorised the closure? Has the person responsible for placing the barrier across the track been disciplined or counselled? Has an inspection regime—

Mr Wynne: What’s your action?

Ms Britnell: I did. The action I seek is for the minister to provide an update about actions taken within Parks Victoria following a serious incident. Are you happy with that, Minister? Thank you. Has an inspection regime—

The Deputy Speaker: Through the Chair.

Ms Britnell: been implemented to ensure a road has been cleared of barriers when it has been advertised or will reopen? Was there any community consultation? Were public notice or warning signs placed around the barrier in this incident to warn users of imminent danger? Minister, these are questions that need to be answered and issues that need to be addressed so people using our parks and reserves can be assured of their safety and to protect taxpayers from having to pay large fines because of the lack of staff and poor management and procedures from a government department.

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