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RFSA welcomes national bushfire recommendations but says they shouldn’t distract from the NSW task at hand

RFSA Media Release

The Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA) has welcomed the report released today by the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements but says they should not distract the State from recommendations already identified through the recent NSW Bushfire Inquiry.

RFSA President Brian McDonough said, “first and foremost, we welcome today’s report noting it provides a clear framework of areas where more attention is needed going into future fire seasons.”

“While our members are most affected by operational arrangements that were addressed by the NSW Inquiry, we are pleased to see that our recommendations to the Royal Commission have all been adopted within the final report.

“Firstly, we strongly support states remaining primarily responsible for disaster management.

“Local knowledge and experience is incredibly important in the management of natural disasters.

“So, we are pleased that the Royal Commission has found ‘compelling reasons for state and territory governments to continue to be responsible for disaster management’.

“Secondly, we urged the Royal Commission to make it easier for States to call on support from the Commonwealth, in particular from the ADF, which has been adopted in the recommendations.

“And lastly, we recognised the need for more consistent information for communities about local risks, and in particular the shortcomings of current systems for residents near state borders.

“The Royal Commission’s recommendations around improved community education, emergency information and warnings will go a long way to ensuring that the community has the information they need to make informed decisions in the face of future bushfire emergencies.

“It’s important to note, however, that the Royal Commission does not cover everything when it comes to emergency management, and nor should it.

“Many improvements that are needed to make our members and the community safer were identified through the NSW Bushfire Inquiry.

“The Royal Commission should not distract from the urgent task of ensuring the recommendations of that Inquiry are followed through.

“The NSW government has made progress toward adopting those recommendations, including with the recent commitment of $192m in extra funding.

“But there is still more to do – and we will continue to remind the NSW government of the importance of following through on those recommendations,” he said.

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2 comments

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  1. wam

    the commonwealth has powers nowbut they require thought and cooperation. Any state that makes it easier for the federal government to take control from premiers is in dangerous waters.
    There are no provisions for seceding so each state could instruct its senators to vote against such a bill or pac up shop???

  2. John Boyd

    Extra funding by NSW government is welcome, but remember it cut the funds over successive years, as well a savage reductions in NPWS staff, which reduced its capacity to maintain fire trails, apart from actually fighting fires.

    At the federal level, in March 2019 Mr Morrison refused to meet with the group of experts which had highlighted the looming risk of a global warming driven bushfire catastrophe ‘as early as 2020’. In April 2019 the ALP made a serious commitment to upgrade equipment, in particular the acquisition of large aircraft, and the establishment of rapid response teams.

    My local member, Kristy McBain has a really good piece in The Guardian on this and related issues https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/30/australias-bushfire-survivors-may-feel-they-cant-face-the-royal-commission-report-but-politicians-must .Also in the same issue… https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/31/in-50-years-of-firefighting-i-had-never-seen-fires-like-i-did-last-summer-australia-must-take-climate-change-seriously .
    Sadly, I still hear people blaming the Greens (allegedly blocking hazard reduction burning), arsonists, NPWS for blocking fire trails…anything but the real culprits, global warming and lack of resources as recommended by the group of fire experts back in march 2019, with whom Morrison refused to meet.

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