Windy Lakes resident Bart Plunkett has always been too busy demonising the Australian Greens to read their Bushfire Risk Management policy. How could it possibly reflect their views on hazard reduction burning and other fire hazard reduction strategies more accurately than Bart’s alcohol and cocaine fuelled rumour mongering?
When he’s not defaming the Greens on YouTube from the comfort of his loungeroom, Bart is busy traipsing through urban bushland margins, livestreaming his inane, profane, insane conservationist lampooning rants. The Greens have never been in government, but Bart assures me they’re solely responsible for everything that’s wrong with the world, from bushfires to unemployment, to the cyborg pixies that haunt his 1967 Holden Torana. Every Friday the thirteenth, they regale him with tales of the ballet jellyfish, employed to tickle the swamp slugs of Varboa and other true stories. The cyborg pixies that is, not the Greens. Please excuse my digression.
Like I said before, Bart Plunkett is not the most eloquent orator. As he waltzes through Windy Lakes Reserve, it’s difficult to follow the ravings racing from his ramshackle brain, but I’ve managed to catch a few snippets here and there. From what I can gather, he’s still furious about the evil environmentalists banning cattle from munching through all those critically endangered bushes and grasses.
“Them cows were doing a great job of stoppin the build up of bushfire fuel” apparently. Seriously, who needs less destructive methods of bushfire hazard reduction? Bart tells me those “diabolical greenies” have even installed gates and bollards. How will the Rural Fire Service get in? They’ve got water bombing helicopters at their disposal, but obviously nothing as advanced as keys.
I’ve asked Bart if he’s pleased about rubbish dumpers having to lug their broken furniture, pre loved potted environmental weeds and obsolete electronics into Windy Lakes Reserve now, instead of conveniently backing a tip truck right into the forest like they used to. Is he happy about the lack of hoons doing donuts and burnouts on the critically endangered shrubs holding the banks of Windy Lakes together? How does he feel about the absence of freshly burnt out cars, since the gates were installed? He just mumbles something about needing hearing aids. Below is a passage Bart has selected from the transcript of his video for me to read to you.
“The Greens are responsible for the build up of bushfire fuel in Windy Lakes Reserve. I’m not promotin some sort of tin foil hat, tree hugger bashing, conspiracy theory, this is as legit as the claims the royal family are reptilian shapeshifters.
Greta Thunberg, she’s one of them reptilian too. Just the other day, she triedta tell me me climate change increases the risk of forest fires. I said listen ere darlin, it’s got nuthin ta-do wit climate change, global warmin is as mythical as the moon landin.” When asked to produce a record of the text conversation between himself and Greta Thunberg, Bart Plunkett claimed it had been accidentally deleted at both ends.
Speaking of records, Bart holds the world record for the lowest marks in Conservation and Land Management, Certificate One. During the weed identification exam, Bart became the first non vision impaired person to confuse African Boxthorn, a sprawling shrub with spikes large enough to crucify a Tyrannosaurus Rex, with a benign looking succulent known as Mother of Millions. Clearly it wasn’t enough to rupture the gargantuan pimple of Bart’s arrogance.
Why hasn’t the popularity of Bart’s brilliant idea to permit cattle to roam Windy Lakes Reserve, to denude it of all that burns, spread like wildfire in the ecological community? Why leave the critically endangered shrubs holding the banks of Windy Lakes together intact? Shouldn’t we just allow the reserve to erode until all the canopy trees have been uprooted, rotted and fragmented into driftwood? Yes, I know, so what, who cares if Windy Lakes Reserve erodes until it becomes a mosquito infested swamp that buries the roads, there won’t be any chance of fire.
Here’s a novel idea, instead of giving free reign to ruminants that eat as indiscriminately as locusts, why not employ forest regenerators to strategically thin out the fringes of Windy Lakes Reserve and mulch enough sticks for a hazard reduction burn to be a good idea so close to housing? Bart thought that sounded alright until he realised greenies came up with it. Conservationists, ecologists, environmentalists, Greens, Greenies, it’s all the same to him.