Media release - Review of ACT emergency services responses to the 2019-20 bushfire season

Media Release

Assembly Committee review of ACT emergency services responses to the 2019-20 bushfire season

The Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety has decided to carry out a review of the responses by ACT emergency services agencies to the unprecedented 2019-20 bushfire season in the Territory.

The Committee’s review will be conducted under the Committee’s general powers of inquiry into issues and events affecting all aspects of community safety in the ACT which were given to the Committee by the Assembly at the commencement of the 9th Assembly in 2017.

The Committee is conducting the review so the Legislative Assembly and the ACT community can have a discussion prior to the 2020-21 bushfire season on responses during the 2019-20 bushfire season from the start of the season.  These responses range from preparation, education and public communication, to actions by agencies at the height of the bushfires over summer 2019-20.

The Committee will canvass the matters arising in 2019-20 with the emergency services agencies and is also asking for community views on all factors relating to the ACT’s susceptibility to fire and how the impact of bushfire was and is to be mitigated.

The Committee sees several matters as important to its review:

The Committee plans to draw information from a variety of sources, and particularly will draw on the views of experts, emergency services agencies, the Government and the community, and especially those members of the community who contribute so much to agency efforts as volunteers and bushfire season personnel.

In addition, the Committee will draw on the results of the review of Emergency Services Agency experience in 2019-20 foreshadowed at the end of the bushfire season announced at the end of March 2020.

In addition, the Committee will have regard to findings and recommendations from the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements established on 20 February 2020 in response to the extreme nature bushfire season of 2019-20, and the resulting loss of life, property and wildlife and environmental destruction which is to report by the end of August 2020.

Submissions and Inquiry

The Committee is asking for views to be provided by 1 July 2020.

The Committee particularly notes that its review will be public and will be undertaken as public hearings, subject to the constraints imposed by present circumstances.  The Committee will release its report prior to the end of this Assembly.

Further Information

For comment, please contact the Committee Chair, Mrs Giulia Jones MLA – and 02 6205 0234.

(Committee Secretary, Andrew Snedden at or 0410516850).

16 April 2020