Cracker Night date shift receives further opposition from Litchfield Council, citing increased fire risk
The Northern Territory Government’s proposal to move Cracker Night to August 29 has met further opposition, with Litchfield Council members voting to express their concerns relating to increased fire risk.
Last night the Litchfield Council passed a motion stating “that Council write to the Chief Minister requesting that the Northern Territory Government heed advice from the Bushfires Council, volunteer firefighters, the scientific experts at Charles Darwin University and concerns of the wider community to reschedule the cracker night celebrations.”
Litchfield resident Zoe Nelson welcomed the Council’s decision:
“I’m happy that the Litchfield Council has listened to the concern of its constituents by passing the motion to move cracker night. The proposed August date, when combined with the issue of unmanaged dry gamba grass makes it an unreasonable and possible catastrophic fire risk for the community”, said Ms Nelson.
Berry Springs Bushfires NT Captain Cindy Holden also congratulated the Council:
“Cracker night in August would be a disaster due to the high fire danger rating, especially with the high fuel loads after a big wet. Moving the date is a good idea”, said Ms Holden.
“Territorians know how dangerous fires can be late in the Dry,” said Gamba Grass Roots spokesperson Pauline Cass.
“Hot, dry, windy conditions, on top of high fuel loads from weeds like Gamba are a recipe for even more dangerous bushfires. Councils such as Litchfield and Coomalie have an important role to play in supporting communities – we want to see more active steps being taken by all levels of government.”
Litchfield Council’s motion acknowledged the risk of gamba grass, stating, “it is likely that with significant fuel loads likely to still be on the ground at this time and Gamba grass being well established across many areas throughout Litchfield, including on Crown Land, the risk to life and property if something were to go wrong would be catastrophic.”
“We know that a properly funded and resourced Gamba Army is a practical way to get ahead of the growing Gamba problem and reduce fire risk for future years, regardless of when Cracker Night may be held,” said Ms Cass.
“Now we need the NT Government to listen to the experts, firefighters and the communities on the frontline. That starts with more resources for the Gamba Army – to reduce the high fuel loads that we face every year, even more so if we inexcusably end up with a late August Cracker Night.”
On July 13, the City of Darwin passed a motion to write to the Chief Minister to express concern that the August Cracker Night date posed “a significant risk to our community” and called for the event to be delayed until April 2022.