Mr Humphries refers to the Wambelong fire that occurred on 12 and 13 January around the Coonabarabran district and the Warrumbungle National Park.
On that day Bureau of Meteorology fire information, according to the continuous Haines index which measures atmospheric instability, was extreme.
On those days there were temperatures of more than 40 degrees and winds from the North to North‑West of 20 to 30 kilometres per hour.
The resulting fire damaged hundreds of thousands of acres of National Park, destroyed private property, destroyed 52 houses and numerous stock.
I find this response disappointing to say the least. The response denies any liability that government agencies inclusive of National Parks and the Rural Fire Service responsible for fire management in the area at the time acted in a negligent manner. It is clear that prior and during the fire wrong decisions were made and clear protocols were not adhered to leading to a catastrophic situation.
A number of landholders neighbouring the National Park were tragically affected by the actions of government agencies and we have a responsibility to make good on this. Hiding behind the claims manager is not the Nationals way of doing things and I do not accept the response to date.
Mr Humphries took aim at the government’s response which said it would not be liable to compensate landholders who lost property and stock, as per information from its insurer.
Recommendation 27 from the parliamentary inquiry recommended government to quickly get to the bottom of the issue and find who is responsible for paying compensation.
“The NSW Government take all reasonable steps to expedite the process of establishing any legal liability for the losses incurred by property owners as a result of the Wambelong fire, and in the event that it is found liable, expedite the process of paying compensation claims,” it said.
Three claims for compensation have been lodged with the NSW Self Insurance Corporation, with the government responding that “…(They) were referred to GIO as claims manager… who have declined the claims and informed the affected parties after carefully considering all the facts and circumstances of the matter”.
Mr Humphries announced he would help affected property owners continue their fight for compensation and would use parliamentary privilege to raise concerns over the handling of the blaze.
The Wambelong fire of January 2013, burnt out the Warrumbungle National Park, destroyed scores of surrounding properties and shattered the lives of many people in the Coonabarabran community.
The subsequent Coronial Inquest and Parliamentary Inquiry made 52 recommendations.
It has taken well over three years for the government to respond to the recommendations, this article looks at some of the local responses from the Coonabarabran community.
Feel free to add your comments.
Question – The Hon. Robert Brown:
My question is directed to the Hon. Duncan Gay, representing the Premier. Will the Premier guarantee that a Government response will be forthcoming to the General Purpose Standing Committee No. 5 inquiry into the Wambelong fire before Christmas given that the fire occurred in January 2013?
On the 28th September 2015, the NSW Deputy State Coroner made the following recommendations to the Minister for Emergency Services. The findings and recommendations have not been well received by all persons. Feel free to add your comments to this article. We will publish any sensible feedback.
The New South Wales deputy coroner has been unable to determine the cause of the massive bushfire that burned in the Warrumbungle National Park in 2013. The fire started at Wambelong Campground near Coonabarabran in January 2013 and destroyed more than 50 homes, while burning 95 per cent of the National Park.
Mr Elliott stated that the Coroner is still to hand down findings arising from the Coronial inquiry into the Wambelong fire and that the NSW Government will finalise its position on all of the Committee’s recommendations once the findings and any recommendations that may be made by the Coroner are released and considered.
His correspondence does visit the following topics:
1. Fire Trails
2. Protection of Pastoral Assets
3. Support Services, and
4. Funding Models
VFFA President, Brian Williams talk to ABC’s Rural Country Hour Host, Michael Condon.
He said that the inquiry was conducted in a very methodical way, heard valuable testimony and was very balanced in the way it went about its business.
“The NSW Upper House inquiry made 29 recommendations to help avoid future bushfires across national parks and farmland.”
“The recommendations of the inquiry represent commonsense improvements to fire management.”
Coonabarabran Farmer and Bushfire fighter, Rod Young was interviewed by Prime 7 News in relation to the upcoming announcement by the NSW State Government regarding the findings of the Public Enquiry into the disastrous bushfires of January 2013. The NSW State Government is now due to released it’s report into the findings on Monday 14th September 2015.