The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements was established on 20 February 2020 in response to the extreme bushfire season of 2019-20 which resulted in loss of life, property and wildlife and environmental destruction.
Referred to as the ‘Bushfires Royal Commission’, the Commission will examine coordination, preparedness for, response to and recovery from disasters as well as improving resilience and adapting to changing climatic conditions and mitigating the impact of natural disasters. The inquiry will also consider the legal framework for Commonwealth involvement in responding to national emergencies.
The Commission is now accepting public submissions on the 2019-20 bushfire season from individuals, community groups and the broader community.
Bronnie Taylor, Minister for Mental Health has urged anyone suffering from trauma or stress as a result of the State’s bushfire crisis to contact their local health service.
The Disaster Welfare Assistance Line is staffed with counselling support and can be accessed by phone on 1800 018 444.
More help can be accessed via:
NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511,
Lifeline Australia on 131114, or Lifeline’s dedicated bushfire line on 13 43 57,
Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636,
Mensline on 1300 789 978 or
Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800.
When my grandmother’s older sister (Mrs Coleman) first came to Mallacoota (ahead of the arrival of my grandparents), she said there was a small band of aborigines, who moved about, burning wherever they went. However, they went with drovers taking cattle from the Bega area to Port Albert for shipping to Tasmania. They never returned.
However, fire was a constant in the bush. Everyone learned to live with it. They had to, as there were no bulldozers, water tankers, aircraft, 4WDs with teams of fire fighters, computer modelling, fire planning, CFA etc.
Bush dwellers of the time had a completely different understanding of the necessity of regular fire in the environment and its acceptance, than that of the majority of people today. Smoke was something we learned to live with. In good weather, particularly the autumn, smoke would lag in the valleys and on the lakes and low lying areas, sometimes making it difficult to navigate on the water.
With the government preferring or directing that burning not take place until after the Easter holidays, some of the best autumn burning conditions are missed. The opportunity to fuel reduce even small areas has contributed to the mess we now have.
Dhungala 2019 brought together more than 400 people from over 30 Indigenous nations to take part in the 12th National Indigenous Fire Workshop. Dhungala 2019 was hosted by the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal Nation Corporation in partnership with the Firesticks Alliance Indigenous Corporation.
The VFFA are concerned that the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action are overlooking key elements of land management practice.
Climate change or variability impacts upon many factors relating to wildfire, but we are all at greater risk because we have neglected our bushland for way too long and the problems associated with fuel loads are becoming worse. Climate change is not the culprit, poor land management and bureaucratic fire service mismanagement is more to blame.
This web site has a plethora of stories relating to improved land management practices based upon Indigenous burning and the practices used by Australian bushmen, foresters, farmers and graziers in decades past.
You may have read press releases or the statement from this group of retired Australian Fire Chiefs claiming that the current bushfire problem in Australia is the result of climate change.
The Emergency Leaders for Climate Action group is pressing for action on climate change to prevent bushfires, protect our communities and firefighters.
This campaign is being spearheaded by Mr Greg Mullins, former Fire and Rescue New South Wales Commissioner who is now a Councillor with the Climate Council, an organisation dedicated to the idea that disastrous climate change is already upon us and will get worse unless action is taken. The proposed action is mostly related to reducing or ceasing emissions of carbon dioxide.
The 2018 National Indigenous Fire Workshop was held at Bundanon property in Yuin Country on the New South Wales south coast.
Participants came from as far north as Napranum, Cape York in northern Queensland to Truwana in Tasmania, and from as far west as the APY Lands in Central Australia. The last day of the workshop was a Cultural Fire Day that was open to the public.
The VFFA congratulates both the RFSA and the RFS for sponsoring this event in 2018. We hope that these programs are supported into the future.
Burning the bush to prevent catastrophic fires is something that rural fire services all over the country have been doing for decades. But Aboriginal Australians have been doing it for tens of thousands of years—and their “cool burns” are making a welcome comeback.