Bushfire royal commission to focus on 'practical actions'

Bushfire royal commission to focus on 'practical actions'

Politics
SOLUTIONS: Practical actions to make Aussies safer will be the focus of the royal commission. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

SOLUTIONS: Practical actions to make Aussies safer will be the focus of the royal commission. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

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Practical actions to make Aussies safer will the the focus of the royal commission.

Aa

Practical actions to make Aussies safer will the the focus of the royal commission into the nation's summer bushfires.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the federal government had to learn from the Black Summer bushfires about how it could work with the state governments to "better protect and equip Australians for living in hotter, drier and longer summers".

"The inquiry acknowledges climate change, the broader impact of our summers getting longer, drier and hotter and is focused on practical action that has a direct link to making Australians safer," Mr Morrison said.

"That's why we need to look at what actions should be taken to enhance our preparedness, resilience and recovery through the actions of all levels of government and the community, for the environment we are living in."

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Mr Morrison said he wants the royal commission to begin as soon as possible and the final report back by the end of August, so the "recommendations can be acted upon before our next bushfire season".

The royal commission will not duplicate the work of other inquiries and will work with the inquiries announced by state governments.

The three key areas of the royal commission are; improving natural disaster management coordination across all levels of government, improving preparedness, resilience, and response to natural disasters, and the legal framework for the Commonwealth's involvement in responding to national emergencies.

"During the Black Summer bushfires, we entered a constitutional grey zone by directly initiating defence force deployments," Mr Morrison said.

"Currently, there are no such powers and federal responses are supposed to only be undertaken in response to state requests and authorisations."

Forestry industry welcomes royal commission

The Australian Forests Products Association (AFPA) is "delighted" by the royal commission announcement.

AFPA chief executive Ross Hampton said it was "absolutely vital" that the inquiry looked across all of the different forestry areas.

"State forest management is only about eight per cent of our forest area," Mr Hampton said.

"There's an enormous amount on farm land, in reserves, crown land and national parks, and fire management differs across all of them.

"For example a farmer in NSW can get a massive fine for creating a fire break - it just makes no sense at all."

Mr Hampton was pleased the federal government indicated fuel load reduction would be under the royal commission's spotlight.

"We know the one tool out of the shed that we're not using in Australia properly is mechanical removal," he said.

"That's using machinery to open up some of our key areas, to make sure that fires are able to be fought and fire lines are able to be put in.

"We'll be pushing very hard for the federal government to take a strong stance on that."

The story Bushfire royal commission to focus on 'practical actions' first appeared on Farm Online.

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