World News – UA – 10 takeaways from the Royal Commission on Bushfires final report


The introduction of a national state of emergency, an all-hazards emergency alert app and a national water bomber fleet are among the recommendations in the final report of the Royal Commission on bush fires

The investigation was launched following the devastating 2019-2020 summer bushfire season, but examined Australia’s preparedness and response to all natural disasters

The 80 recommendations provide guidance on the coordination of all levels of government in an emergency, public warning systems, firefighting resources, climate data, the role of firefighting forces. Australian defense and how best to respond to charities and others disasters

Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud said the government would « carefully and methodically » review the report and its recommendations

The Royal Commission of Inquiry on National Natural Disaster Arrangements gave the Commissioners a tremendous job of determining not only how to prevent the severity of future bushfire seasons, but also all natural disasters

The royal commission recommends that the federal government create a law allowing it to declare a « state of national emergency »

Critically, the new law should give the government the power to act even if states and territories do not specifically ask for help, but only in « clearly defined and limited circumstances »

Speaking after the report’s release, Mr. Littleproud said this would involve a clear « trigger point » for the government and allow it to mobilize national agencies to start responding across the country

« This does not mean that the federal government would step in and take over the operational management of the fire, » he said

Commission says national state of emergency would make clear to the public the gravity of the disaster

During the hearings, the commission heard smoke from the summer fires killing around 445 people and there was confusion around when it was safe to go outside

He now recommends a nationally cohesive guide to air quality, updated in real time to keep everyone on the same page on what is and is not a dangerous level of smoke pollution

The commission also wants better community education and advice on the dangers of smoke, as well as targeted advice to vulnerable groups

In a separate recommendation, it calls for the development of national forecasting capabilities on smoke and other pollutants such as dust and pollen, « to predict the behavior of the plume » and provide advice accordingly

In its report, the committee does not hesitate to acknowledge repeated expert testimony that climate change is and will continue to increase the frequency and intensity of natural disasters

He points out that there is a “patchwork” of climate datasets across Australia and says states and territories need to work together to address this problem by creating a national data system where information, analysis and knowledge can be easily shared

The commission also recommends that all governments produce « downscaled climate projections » that policymakers and agencies can use to plan their future disaster responses

As part of its advice on emergency information and warnings, the commission recommended that state and territory governments « accelerate » the deployment of a new fire risk assessment system

He said the visual display of the warning system and the actions the public needs to take in response at each level should be nationally consistent

He also said governments should invest in a nationwide education program once the new system is launched

At the moment, ratings are different across the country, which means that the highest rating in one jurisdiction may not match the highest in another

After the summer fires, extensive discussions took place as to whether enough harm reduction burns had been performed prior to the season and whether they were effective

The commission recommends that all levels of government review the processes for assessing and approving risk reductions – whether they are prescribed burns or mechanical cuts to clear land

He says governments must clarify what the responsibilities of landowners are and reduce the time it takes for people to get approvals for harm reduction

But he has also heard that « in extreme bushfires, fuel loads do not appear to have a material impact on fire behavior »

The commission also encourages governments to engage more with traditional owners to learn more about the relationship between indigenous land and fire management and resilience to natural disasters, and how this may help in the future.

In the run-up to the last bushfire season, the government was under pressure to fund additional air support to tackle the bushfires, but argued its budget was too tight

The committee recommends the creation of a national aerial firefighting fleet « which will be loaded according to the greatest national needs »

At the moment, states have specific firefighting aircraft and lend them to other jurisdictions when needed, but states and territories also rely on the ability to borrow very large aircraft- tanks to other countries

The number of bushfires burning at the same time last season has put unprecedented pressure on water bombers, prompting calls for a permanent investment in more resources

The commission report says the national fleet should include a very large or very large tanker aircraft, helicopters, as well as additional pilots and support staff

The commission also calls on state and territory governments to put in place an « Australian all hazards alert system »

He suggested that all levels of government should « explore the feasibility » of a national application so that information on the warning system is readily available

He also wants the federal government to work with state and territory governments to develop minimum standards on what should be included in bushfire warning apps

As the first Black Summer investigation prepares to report, we reveal the inside story of Australia’s biggest bushfire

One of the most consistent themes in the testimony given to the 2019-2020 Bushfire Experiences Commission was how frustrating it was for people on the ground who could see their counterparts from there. ‘across the state border but couldn’t contact them

In response to this evidence, the commission recommends that states and territories update their current strategies or develop a new one so that people have the technology to communicate between jurisdictions

He also believes that there should be a national register indicating the number of emergency services personnel, equipment and air assets that can be attracted or moved if necessary

The commission’s first recommendation when it comes to charitable giving is that state and territorial governments need to do more to ensure that charities get what they need

They should educate people about the ‘challenges’ that charities face in storing and distributing donated goods

Reforms to fundraising laws are also recommended to create a « one national system » for regulating charitable fundraising

The commission also wants small charities and voluntary organizations to participate in disaster recovery, saying the federal government should regularly hold forums with these groups « with a view to continuous improvement or coordination of support for disaster recovery. recovery « 

While the commission did not go so far as to say that people should rethink where they live based on the likelihood of future disasters, it says people should be made aware of the risk before buying or moving. somewhere

It recommends that state and territory governments put in place a process to communicate this risk to households and potential buyers

The report also suggests that governments « work » with the federal government to explore the establishment of a national mechanism to do the same

It’s not just governments that need to clarify risk – the commission wants insurance companies to produce « clear guidance » on what risk mitigation measures insurers will take into account when set their insurance premiums

This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and BBC World Service which is copyrighted and may not be reproduced

AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time, which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

Royal Commission, Australian Bushfires, Government, David Littleproud

World News – AU – 10 takeaways from the Royal Commission on Bushfires final report



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