The Royal Commission was established in February in the wake of devastating fires across multiple States in late 2019

October 30, 2020

The development of a sovereign, Australian-based aerial firefighting capacity – including a very large air tanker – is one of 80 recommendations from the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements tabled in the Federal Parliament on Friday morning.

Other recommendations include:

  • A review of supply chain risks to ensure the supply of essential goods during natural disasters
  • State governments and local councils working with fire and emergency services to ensure appropriate roadside vegetation management
  • A regular review of evacuation planning and key risks, including power and communications outages
  • The development and implementation of a uniform, nationwide Australian Fire Danger Rating System
  • Ensure there is clarity about the requirements and scope for landholders and land managers to undertake bushfire hazard reduction activities and minimise the time taken to undertake assessments and obtain approvals

Emergency Management Minister and Member for Maranoa David Littleproud thanked the people who had contributed to and participated in the Royal Commission.

He said the Chair and Commissioners had carefully and diligently examined thousands of submissions and heard from hundreds of witnesses.

“We also pay tribute to those communities impacted by the devastating Black Summer Bushfires, and in particular to the 33 people who tragically lost their lives,” Minister Littleproud said.

“The Royal Commission report outlines lessons for us all on how to better prepare for, manage and recover from natural disasters. There are lessons for governments, essential service providers, insurers, charities, communities and individuals.

“The Commission examined and made recommendations across a broad range of themes including prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.

“Importantly, the Royal Commission wasn’t focussed solely on Commonwealth areas of responsibilities but examined how all Australian jurisdictions managed natural disaster arrangements, and critically, how we could work together even better in future to protect people, property and the environment.

Mr Littleproud said that of the 80 recommendations, 14 directly targeted the Federal Government; 23 were specific to States and Territories; 41 were shared between the Commonwealth and States and Territories and two specifically focussed on the Insurance Industry and the Australian Building Code Board.

“The Commonwealth will now carefully and methodically consider the report and its recommendations, as will the States and Territories, but we are committed to responding to and actioning many of the recommendations as soon as possible,” Mr Littleproud said.

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