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So Much to Lose (SECV 1989)

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Published on Nov 3, 2011

A short documentary made by state-owned monopoly electricity company SEC in Victoria Australia, six years after devastating bushfires killed a number of people. The company engineers had done unpublished internal tests twenty years earlier, in 1969, proving that power line sparks could easily ignite grass, but they did further questionable experiments in 1977 after six people were killed by power line fires. The "questionable" methodology used in 1977 tended to downplay the risk of power line sparks, perhaps because the results were to be made known through a public inquiry, Sir Esler Barber's Board of Inquiry into Bush and Grass Fires in Victoria, February 1977.

This documentary film is a publicly accessible item in the Victorian Public Records Office, the copyright owner is the Office of the Administrator, and it is placed on YouTube to inform politicians and bureaucrats of unresolved safety issues glossed-over in the film, and still being glossed over since power lines killed up to 161 people on Black Saturday, 7th February 2009.

Perhaps the most important statement in the whole video is @ 9min 10sec where the company admits that some power lines must be turned off in extremely windy weather to reduce fire risk to an acceptable level. @ 9min 10sec

The organisation which did an expert report on the status of the power line which killed 119 people on Black Saturday was HRL Ltd. It was HRL's predecessor entity, the Herman Research Laboratory, the in-house R&D arm of the SECV, which performed the "questionable" (potentially biased) experiments set up to answer important questions posed by Sir Esler Barber's 1977 inquiry into killer bushfires.

This documentary film resides in the Public Records Office of Victoria (PROV, or State Archive) as a Umatic video cassette. It has been uploaded to YouTube via DVD. Its official designation (citation) is: "VPRS 5061/2/90 Document No. 001132 So Much To Lose. Submaster. Bush Fire Mitigation. 1989"

A version with improved resolution and without deinterlacing artifact is available directly from here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2rlPd... --- although it is strongly recommended to access it and many other relevant videos from the PROV Wiki page at

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