The valuable work and research of early fi re detection technology by member for McEwen Fran Bailey has been praised in Federal Parliament this week.
Fran was acknowledged for her contributions during a ministerial statement by Attorney-General Robert McClelland on Australia’s bushfi re preparedness.

Since the Black Saturday fi res, Fran has extensively researched new technology that can quickly detect fires.

Among them is Firewatch, developed by the German Aerospace Research Institute from technology used in NASA’s Mars Pathfi nder mission.

Fran has since presented her fi ndings to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with an Australian trial planned this summer.

Mr McClelland told Parliament: “I want to acknowledge the valuable work and research undertaken by the member for McEwen, the Hon. Fran Bailey MP.

“A trial of relevant fi re detection systems will be conducted this season, recognising that such technology, if proven and cost effective, could improve our management of fi res and better target community warnings.”

Shadow minister for justice and customs Sussan Ley said: “We also acknowledge the member for McEwen’s efforts as her electorate suffered the most on Black Saturday.

“The member for McEwen has worked extremely hard in these last months identifying and investigating methods and technologies to make our communities safer.

“The member for McEwen . . . travelled to Germany earlier this year to see first-hand the digital sensing technology in operation and, on her return, strongly advocated an Australian trial this summer.

“Comprehensive fuel reduction programs have been another area of vital research by the member for McEwen.

“A visit to the Sintra region of Portugal, an area that experienced fires of similar devastation in 2003 and 2007, has reinforced in the member for McEwen’s mind the importance of fuel reduction programs, not just burn-offs but thinning vegetation and clearing roadsides in order to limit fi re intensity. This is a critical message.

“The great point about the Sintra model put in place following their fi res is that the region forms a World Heritage listed area.

“This is an important lesson— that is, that environmental outcomes and the maintenance of biodiversity in the bush, and fuel reduction, need not be mutually exclusive.”

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