All 76 bushfire inquiry recommendations accepted

Friday 28 Aug 2020

 
NSW Emergency Services Minister David Elliott says firefighters will be able to enter private properties and start hazard-reduction burns under new powers recommended after an inquiry into last summer's bushfires.

The independent inquiry made 76 recommendations in the wake of Australia's Black Summer, and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said her Government would adopt all of them. Compulsory land clearing, night-time water bombing, and aggressive hazard-reduction burning were among the recommendations, as were strategies to protect fauna.

Land owners in some areas will be legally required to ensure their properties are safe by clearing land and conducting hazard-reduction burns. NSW Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) would be given rights to enter properties and clear land or conduct burns if land owners fail to.

"If people ignore the risks on their property and that endangers the lives and livelihoods and the infrastructure of a neighbouring property then the RFS are deemed, quite rightly in my mind, to rectify and to reduce any hazards," he told Nine radio.

Ms Berejiklian called last season's deadly bushfires "the biggest challenge we have faced in more than a century". "We know the scars of the season will go on for a long time," she said. "We're not going to pretend that we have managed firstly deal with all the physical issues and secondly, of course, the ongoing trauma of those directly impacted.

Also included was guidance on which aerial fire-fighting assets should be used in the future, and what strategies personnel should pursue. These included increased water-bombing at night and employing more rapid aerial responses when fires are burning in risky and hard-to-reach terrain. The inquiry's report also advised on measures to protect the mental health of firefighters.

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Further coverage can be read here.

Source: ABC, 9News

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