Bushfires Royal Commission publish findings

The aftermath of bushfires near Taree.

 

THE long-awaited findings from the Bushfires Royal Commission were published last Friday, recommending the creation of a national aerial firefighting fleet, the rollout of an emergency app and better communications between governments.

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The 80 recommendations would be “carefully and methodically” considered according to the Minister for Emergency Management David Littleproud.

The inquiry was established after last summer’s devastating bushfires which burnt 18.6 million hectares, killed an estimated one billion animals and claimed 34 lives.

In its report the commission acknowledged the role of climate change in contributing to more frequent and intense fires but fell short of recommending emission reduction targets.

Director of the ANU’s Climate Change Institute, Professor Mark Howden said the report was comprehensive but without an emission reduction target it “dealt with the symptoms rather than the cause”.

“Even though climate was mentioned 350 times within the report, the real thing that was missing was reducing our greenhouse gas emissions in Australia as part of an effective global response,” said Professor Howden.

Other recommendations include introduction of legislation allowing the government to declare a national state of emergency, the establishment of a new fire danger rating system and more efficient hazard reduction burns.

Professor Howden said he hoped the government would implement all the recommendations made by the commission.

“This is a crucial issue for Australia and we need to get it right.”

By Miles PROUST

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