76 recommendations to better prepare for bushfires
HAZARD reductions, cross-agency support and embracing cultural burning practices are just some of the 76 recommendations handed down in the NSW Bushfire Inquiry.
The independent inquiry was commissioned by the government to understand what happened during the 2019-20 bushfire season and how it was different to previous seasons.
It was not designed to address any issues during the recovery process.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said her government would accept all 76 recommendations for future improvements to how NSW plans and prepares for, and responds to, bushfires.
“But we also appreciate that many of our rural and regional communities are still going through trauma and are still rebuilding and the government will continue to support them every step of the way,” she said.
“And I want to in particular again, thank all of our agencies, all of our volunteers, all those who continue to support our communities who are doing it tough, and of course on top of the horrific bushfire season we have to contend with the COVID-19 crisis.
“But we know for those who have lost loved ones, we know for those who are still bearing the scars from their injuries and the healing process is far from done, in fact it will take a lifetime.
“And I just want to say today and every other day we think about those who experience the trauma, those who’ve experienced the pain and who are still in recovery mode when it comes to dealing with the horrific bushfire season.”
The inquiry stated the government needed to work alongside councils, agencies and local aboriginal groups to better plan for hazard reduction and bushfire preparation.
It recommended new procedures and programs should be put in place, including mitigation crews, that would optimize the timeframe where hazard reduction is possible.
The inquiry also recommended NSW RFS crews required better access to mental health support and also provide a free mental health screen after any post-fire event.
More funding for protective clothing and equipment, as well as improving general fire safety gear, is also recommended.
Many of the recommendations also suggested better cross-communication between emergency agencies needed to be established to ensure key messaging was effective.
For the full list of recommendations, see the NSW Bushfire Inquiry website.