Jack Kenna says while the devastating St Patrick’s Day bushfires may not have physically killed anyone, they had caused mental anguish and despair in the community which was beyond repair.
It comes as south-west and state MPs visited the area on Thursday, and urged the State Government to do more to ensure the safety of residents during bushfire season.
Opposition Energy spokesman Ryan Smith was joined by South West Coast MP Roma Britnell and Polwarth MP Richard Riordan and representatives from the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria at Mr Kenna and his wife Betty’s property at The Sisters.
The farm was the starting point for one of the bushfires last year, after a dodgy power pole snapped and ignited dry fodder.
“They say there was no deaths, but there was,” Mr Kenna said.
“There are some broken people out there. There could be suicides in time. It’s about time someone cared for country people. Surely we are entitled to better services. We pay taxes.”
Mr Kenna has been leading a campaign along with his neighbour Jill Porter to push for better checks by power companies on poles and is calling for the State Government to more strongly regulate the energy industry.
It comes as Powercor revealed it would conduct 17,000 additional checks on power poles across the region.
Mr Riordan said people in the community had the right to feel safe.
“17,000 is a drop in the ocean when you have 600,000 poles,” he said.
“It is great, and we aren’t knocking it, but what about the rest of the state? Do we have to have more fires before we have a big audit?”
He said the State Government needed to ensure regulator Energy Safe Victoria was doing its job.
“ESV is allowing Powercor to use ancient technology to check power poles,” he said.
Mrs Britnell said safety for the region was paramount, and it seemed the State Government did not care about country people.
“It is less important the further away we get from Melbourne,” she said.
Mr Smith said the State Government needed to have more oversight of what ESV was doing.
“ESV is not getting direction from the government to hold Powercor to account,” he said.