DHA acknowledges the catastrophic fire conditions in late 2019 and early 2020 that resulted in a State of Fire Emergency being declared across 42 Local Government Areas in Queensland, including Toowoomba. DHA takes its responsibility for fire management practices on our Mount Lofty site seriously, as we do with all sites we own.
DHA engaged a bushfire expert at the outset of the Mount Lofty project and a Bushfire Management Plan was developed for the proposed residential estate, which was submitted to Council as part of our original Development Application. New specialist bushfire assessments have been completed in relation to the new masterplan, which comply with all bushfire legislation and requirements. There are clear standards in planning and land management legislation about the management of bushfire risk, and these will be fully adhered to in the Mount Lofty project.
In addition, comprehensive fire mitigation measures have been put in place for the management of the site in its current form, and DHA takes steps to keep fuel loads at a minimum, to maintain suitable separation from neighbouring dwellings and to maintain internal firebreaks. Specialist bushfire advice, from a number of experts, has informed all hazard reduction activities on the site in its current state. DHA will continue to comply as site owner, with any legal obligations it has in this regard.
In Queensland, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) is the source of authority to the public should a fire emergency occur. We urge all residents to follow their directions, monitor the QFES website and listen to reports issued by the QFES to ensure their safety. The QFES provides advice for residents to have a Bushfire Survival Plan, and to be aware of the closest Neighbourhood Safe Place.
In the case of a bushfire emergency the QFES have full authority to gain access to a site by whatever means necessary to prevent loss of homes or lives.
While we fully support those volunteers who work tirelessly during bushfires—both to fight fires and rescue fauna—we must also be mindful of the unique risks associated with the Mount Lofty site being a former rifle range, and the risks posed to anyone entering the property due to unexploded ordnance (UXO). For this reason, we do not advise entering the site unless it has been declared safe by DHA.