Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced an independent expert inquiry into the 2019-20 bushfire season to provide input to NSW ahead of the next bushfire season.
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, are leading the six-month inquiry, which is reviewing the causes of, preparation for and response to the 2019-20 bushfires.
Terms of reference
The inquiry is to consider, and report to the Premier on, the following matters:
1. The causes of, and factors contributing to, the frequency, intensity, timing and location of, bushfires in NSW in the 2019-20 bushfire season, including consideration of any role of weather, drought, climate change, fuel loads and human activity.
2. The preparation and planning by agencies, government, other entities and the community for bushfires in NSW, including current laws, practices and strategies, and building standards and their application and effect.
3. Responses to bushfires, particularly measures to control the spread of the fires and to protect life, property and the environment, including:
immediate management, including the issuing of public warnings, resourcing, coordination and deployment, equipment and communication systems.
4. Any other matters that the inquiry deems appropriate in relation to bushfires.
And to make recommendations arising from the inquiry as considered appropriate, including on:
5. Preparation and planning for future bushfire threats and risks.
6. Land use planning and management and building standards, including appropriate clearing and other hazard reduction, zoning, and any appropriate use of indigenous practices.
7. Appropriate action to adapt to future bushfire risks to communities and ecosystems.
8. Emergency responses to bushfires, including overall human and capital resourcing.
9. Coordination and collaboration by the NSW Government with the Australian Government, other state and territory governments and local governments.
10. Safety of first responders.
11. Public communication and advice systems and strategies.
The inquiry welcomes submissions and further details will be provided shortly on the process for providing these.