News Roundup May 5

Half the Red Cross Money Hasn’t Been Distributed

Months on from the bushfires only half of the #200 million raised has been distributed by the Red Cross according to Melbourne’s 3AW.

Read the full story:

The ABC carried a similar report and also reported on the status of Celese Barber’s $50 million which was headed to the Supreme Court on Wednesday this week. This story is here:

Snowy Monaro Regional Council Mayoral Bushfire Relief Fund supports affected residents

More than 100 applicants will receive financial support through the Mayoral Bushfire Relief Fund with the funds to support bushfire affected residents in the Snowy Monaro.

Each of the 128 applications successfully secured a portion of the fund’s $483,000 pool, which will assist those residents who have had their homes, outbuildings and fences destroyed.

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Bushfire inquiry to host virtual community meeting

The Wollondilly Advertiser reports that the NSW Independent Bushfire Inquiry will host an online meeting for communities of the Wollondilly and Southern Highlands region this week.

The Inquiry is being led by Dave Owens APM, former Deputy Commissioner of NSW Police, and Professor Mary O’Kane AC, Independent Planning Commission Chair and former NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer.

The Inquiry will report to the Premier on 31 July 2020.

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Bushfire inquiry receives more than 1400 submissions

Insurance News reported that more than 1400 public submissions, making up over 12,000 pages, were lodged ahead of the royal commission into the handling of last summer’s devasting bushfires.

Organisations made around 300 submissions and individuals the rest, the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements revealed. They will be published on a rolling basis on the commission’s website.

The first phase of online hearings will take place next month and the inquiry is scheduled to deliver its final report by August 31.

THe full story is here

AFPA Calls for Wide Approach to Bushfire Prevention

Timberbiz reports that the Australian Forest Products Association has called for an ambitious whole-of-landscape approach to bushfire mitigation and active land management, including mechanical fuel reduction alongside controlled burns to ensure we don’t see a repeat of the Black Summer fires. Source: Timberbiz

In the organisation’s submission to the Royal Commission into Natural Disaster Arrangements, AFPA Chief Executive Ross Hampton said the fires wrought unprecedented damage to Australia’s forest industries in terms of their breadth and severity, affecting both the native forest and plantation (softwood and hardwood) estates across the country, and it was vital that lessons were learned to prevent a repeat.

“Despite several catastrophic bushfire seasons around the country in the past 50 years, multiple state Royal Commissions and national inquiries, the unprecedented devastation across the country from this bushfire season has shown that business-as-usual is not an option,” Mr Hampton said.

“We need a coordinated, whole of landscape, approach to land management, not the current system where there are multiple approaches to fuel reduction by multiple land managers and agencies. That approach should include using mechanical fuel reduction techniques to complement fuel reduction burns, which have proved highly effective in other bushfire prone countries.”

The full story is here

The MidCoast Council will soon begin rebuilding the Rainbow Flat Rural Fire Service (RFS) shed after the development application for the project was approved on April 23.

The Great Lakes Advocate reportsa that the brigade’s previous station was destroyed by the Hillville fire on the evening of November 8, 2019, while the brigade was fighting to protect homes in the area.

Council’s infrastructure and engineering services director, Rob Scott, said it was council’s role to support the RFS in the region by managing works for their facilities.

“It’s part of our broader role to facilitate and support emergency management amongst all agencies on the MidCoast,” Mr Scott said.

“The demolition of the fire damaged structure at Rainbow Flat is being planned, while we wait for the construction certificate to be issued. Then we’ll be ready to begin work on the rebuild.”

The full story is here

Byron Bay firefighters honoured on St Florian’s Day

The recipients of a Commissioner’s Certificate of Commendation (unit), members of the Far North Coast Senior Management Team, Area North Eastern, Superintendent David Cook (District Manager), Group Officer Michael Cooper, Group Officer Kenneth (Mark) Eglington, Group Officer Robert Graham, Inspector Matthew Inwood, Group Captain Franco Zambelli, Inspector Angela Daly, Deputy Group Captain Raymond Collyer.

The Echo Daily reports that after this season’s fire catastrophe, we can’t help but know that all firefighters are heroes, but on the fourth of May each year, the annual Firefighter’s Awards are given to outstanding firefighters to coincide with the Feast Day of St Florian, Patron Saint of Firefighters and International Firefighters’ Day.

Police and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott and NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) Commissioner Rob Rogers today honoured four individual members and five units, including the Far North Coast Senior Management Team, as part the annual awards for exceptional service and bravery.

This year, while members could not gather to acknowledge the worthy recipients in person, Commissioner Rogers has written to each member with a formal ceremony to be held at a later date.

The full story is here:

Gunnedah truck fire: Mathias Road the scene of fire on Monday

Photos: Fire and Rescue NSW Station 314 Gunnedah

The Northern Daily Leader reported that emergency service crews have been hard at work this morning after being called to a building fire on Mathias Road, Gunnedah.

Fire and Rescue crews from Gunnedah and Boggabri along with NSW RFS, NSW Ambulance and Essential Energy were all in attendance at the scene at 4am.

There was thick black smoke billowing from the industrial shed and a power saw was needed to gain entry. It then became clear that a truck was the source of the blaze.

Read the full story here

Bega Valley Shire Council opens public consultation on burning off in open areas

About Regional reports that Bega Valley Shire Council is calling for comments and suggestions on a draft policy that will attempt to streamline the approval process for burning dry vegetation, also known as pile burning.

The draft of the Burning off in Open Areas Policy is open for public feedback until 31 May, 2020 on the Bega Valley Shire Council website. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the draft policy will not be on display in public libraries or at the council’s offices during the exhibition period.

Dr Alice Howe, Bega Valley Shire Council’s community, environment and planning director, said council regulates pile burning of vegetation and wants to simplify the approval process for landowners within appropriate hazard reduction periods.

“We’re keen to support landowners who want to proactively manage bushfire risk by making it more straightforward for them to pile burn vegetation,” said Dr Howe.

Read the full story here:

Since last summer more than 100 sick or injured koalas have been found in bushfire-ravaged parts of Australia by a dog named Bear and a team of experts.

10 Daily reporta that the five-year-old Australian koolie dog has been on the ground since November trying to detect surviving koalas in parts of NSW and Queensland which have been devastated by bushfires.

Bear is part of the University of the Sunshine Coast Detection Dogs for Conservation team.

The team has been working with the International Fund for Animal Welfare and local wildlife groups to look for, and rescue, koalas known to live in areas impacted by the fires.

USC uses a drone equipped with a thermal camera to locate koalas in trees and then Bear is sent in to use his sense of smell to find them. The team of experts then asses the koalas and take them into care if necessary.

Read the full story here:

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