The president of Wangaratta's VFF branch has asked "is there really a point" to having another bushfire royal commission, after the recommendations of the past have not lasted.
Greg Mirabella was one of the people to talk to Inspector-General for Emergency Management Tony Pearce as he looks into the response to the summer's bushfires, asking for a review of the varied advice that had come before.
Speaking at a public meeting in Wangaratta, he said the upcoming royal commission had been a talking point in the VFF branch.
"Nothing ever changes. There have been many reviews," he said.
Royal commissions were held after the 1939 and 2009 Victorian bushfires, plus there have been inquiries into other fire events where fuel-reduction burns were also on the agenda.
"In my lifetime, since Ash Wednesday, I remember even then talking about the need for fuel reduction ... After Ash Wednesday, that was all going to change," Mr Mirabella said.
"Black Saturday saw the most change in Victoria ever, but even so we will still criticise things like fuel reduction."
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One of the recommendations of the 2009 royal commission was to adopt a long-term fuel-reduction program, with an average of 5 per cent each year on public land. Mr Mirabella said "within two years that was out the window."
He also referred to the 1939 royal commission, which was conducted by an independent judge who recommended a substantial distance between forest and grazing land for protection.
"He said the clear break between the forest that burns and private land needs to be at least a half a mile ... These days it's four metres," he said.
"Some of us here have been on the backs of fire trucks, travelling along a fenceline with the bare four metres and there's nowhere to turn the truck around, with 20-30 metre dead trees fallen on the fence in front of us.
"Four metres - you can't be serious. Eighty years ago, a judge said half a mile."
Friday's meeting in Wangaratta also heard that tourism operators could not contact management at government and private tourism organisations because they were on leave when fires broke out in January and no replacements were in place.
The Inspector-General was asked to recommend that changed because North East tourism operators were left "blind-sighted and frustrated" without support.