Statement on Coronial Findings on Forest Firefighters

Thursday 17th December 2015

 

Coroner John Olle this afternoon delivered his findings on the deaths of DSE forest firefighters Steve Kadar and Katie Peters.

 

AWU Victorian Secretary Ben Davis is examining the decision in full before making a detailed response, but said he was “devastated” that the findings did not address crucial issues.

 

“Forest Firefighter safety cannot be one of the factors to be considered when fighting fires. It must be the only factor to be considered. Safety cannot be part of an overall cost benefit analysis. People’s lives are more important than trees after all,” he said.

 

“When Forest Firefighters believe that they are in life threatening situations they should feel confident to immediately evacuate not wait for almost three hours for remote managers to catch up.

 

“There is something profoundly wrong when lots of people have some information about adverse weather conditions but no one has all of the information.”

 

“The coroner, we believe, simply got it wrong.”