Royal Commission publishes its Interim Observations

The Royal Commission published its observations on August 31st while pointing out that these are not recommendations. They do however frame those areas in which they are working.

A number of these relate to the different ways in which the Commonwealth should interact with the states and how the ADF should be engaged.

It was interesting for example to see that the NSW Enquiry recommended the use of MAFFS water bombing kits be fitted to RAAF C130 Hercules to augment the water tanker resource. It’s very challenging flying and one would think an area in which the RAAF could excel.

Its good to see that air quality is covered. Not many people realise that we suffered four times the deaths from air quality than directly from the fires this summer. The VFFA’s earlier articles on this topic are worth reviewing again:

Improved Respiratory Protection for Firefighters – Part 1: Smoke

Improved Respiratory Protection for Firefighters – Part 2: Exposure Standards

Improved Respiratory Protection for Firefighters – Part 3: What can we do about Carbon Monoxide?

The complete lack of standards across the country for bushfire warning systems and fire danger ratings is covered. The ‘Watch and Act’ designation causes a lot of confusion especially when people are told its too late to leave with no prior notice.

Hazard reduction and indigenous burning appear to be a focus area and the question remains why the recommendations of 240 previous enquiries have not been implemented. They state:

We have learned that recommendations, findings and directions from the last 20 years of natural disaster inquiries, roadmaps, strategies and frameworks have advocated for consistent disaster risk information, greater investment in national resilience and in mitigation of risk, and improved collaboration. However, it is difficult to determine the implementation status for many recommendations. We observe that many initiatives have not yet been adequately implemented and we question why this is so.

We will look forward to their recommendations being published by October 28th 2020.

You can download your copy of the Intertim Observations here:

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  • The VFFA submission to the Royal Commission and VFFA Vice President Brian WIlliams' submission are both published in this story.

  • Mike Gorman from the very effective team in Kangaroo Valley has compiled this index of all the submissions to the Royal Commission that relate to the firefighting response in NSW.

  • The Royal Commission is up and running and you can find a link to the Opening and the complete transcrpt in this post. We also review an excellent Sydney Mormning Herald article which quotes VFFA President Mick Holton.

  • Maintaing the integrity of our telecommunications infrastructure during bushfires is critical. It is therefore encouraging to see the telecommunications industry working together to document their experiences during this summers fires and present their findings to the Royal Commission.

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