Questions that must be answered over Narrawong incident

Member for South West Coast has asked Minister for Environment Lily D’Ambrosio to provide information about changes to policies within Parks Victoria following a serious incident in the Narrawong Flora Reserve.

Earlier this year 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 came after two motorcyclists were seriously injured after hitting a wire barrier which had been placed across a track in the reserve as part of seasonal road closures.

The court heard the barrier had been mistakenly left in place and 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.

In Parliament on Wednesday Ms Britnell said the Minister needed to explain what Parks Victoria had changed to ensure this type of incident did not happen again.

“There 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,” Ms Britnell said.

“We also need and to protect taxpayers from having to foot the bill for large fines because of the lack of staff and poor management and procedures from a government department.”

Ms Britnell asked the Minister to answer the following questions about the incident:

  • 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 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?

Ms Britnell said she hopes appropriate action has been taken to address the issues that were highlighted in the court so that people can have confidence of their safety when using Victoria’s parks and reserves.

“This is a serious matter and the community needs to have confidence that shortcomings have been addressed to ensure an avoidable incident like this doesn’t happen again.”

Related Posts