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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Bushfires... oh that's right we had devastating bushfires before Covid came along

Submissions remain open to both the NSW Bushfire Inquiry and the The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements In the willy willy noise of the arrival and absolute disruption that COVID-19 has brought to the South East it is VITAL that we do not forget that we have just come through a devastating bush fire season that has hammered the region physically, emotionally and financially. At the Council meeting of report March 24th 2020 the General Manager presented a draft submission for the councillors to rubber stamp before it was officially lodged with the NSW Government independent inquiry into the 2019-20 bushfire season. For those not aware the Inquiry is to consider, and report to the Premier on such matters as: 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. 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. Land use planning and management and building standards, including appropriate clearing and other hazard reduction, zoning, and any appropriate use of indigenous practices The General Manager, in her report to the Councillors advised that the deadline for submissions is 27 March 2020 and that the report was a combined effort from Councillors, council staff and "a number" of community members. While it was already known that the submission extension had been declared and was posted on the NSW Independent Bushfire Inquiry website on March 23rd the General Manager and the Mayor failed to advise of the update with the Mayor reiterating to her fellow councillors that the deadline WAS March the 27th, thereby creating an unnecessary ripple of alarm in the community. Of concern is the fact that the councillors had little time to read the submission and while the General Manager may have suggested that the report had had "a lot of input from the community, councillors and council staff" the incorrectly reported "deadline" of March the 27th may have pressed the councillors into thinking there was no opportunity for any modifications. While the recommendation that Council endorse the submission to the NSW Government Inquiry into the 2019-20 bushfires the vote by councillors was NOT unanimous. For the Motion: Clrs L Brown, P Constable, L Innes, R Pollock and J Tait. Against the Motion: Clrs A Mayne and P McGinlay

VIDEO: Ordinary Meeting of Eurobodalla Council 24 March 2020 - Discussion around GMR20/007 Submission to the NSW Government Inquiry into 2019-20 Bushfires Note: Councilor Tate was present however was given the public presenters chair and therefore can neither be seen (nor heard for most of the meeting) In a Letter to the Editor published on the 28th of March Councillor Pat McGinlay wrote:

On 24 March 2020, as a councillor of Eurobodalla Shire Council, I voted against acceptance of a 29 page response, prepared by Council staff addressing the terms of reference of this NSW Government enquiry. My objection was that it was almost completely dismissive of the impact of Climate Change as a causal or influencing factor in the bushfire emergency recently experienced by our community. Please note that my first awareness of the content of this response prepared by council staff was but one day prior to it being published on agenda for the council meeting of 24 March. As I declared at that meeting, I will write my own submission to the NSW enquiry and am grateful that it need not now be rushed, given the new deadline of 17 April 2020, this welcome news being provided via the below link, and subsequently confirmed after I contacted the agency responsible. supporting Councillor McGinlay's letter was this comment by Councillor Anthony Mayne: Submission fundamentally flawed.  We know that many of our Councillors do not accept the science of climate change.  Equally they did not accept even one (1) of the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) recommendations in the rural lands strategy.   In fact they voted against a motion I put up to invite the RFS down to the Shire to discuss their concerns.  They voted against a climate emergency put up by Clr Pat.  While Council staff were outstanding during the fire season, they would have been better served had our Councillors removed themselves from the climate change trench warfare and accepted the science.   I could not vote for the submission because the wicked problem of climate change deserved at the very least, to be raised and examined.  To essentially leave it out of such a submission sends a very clear message; one I do not support.

Clr Anthony Mayne How to make a submission to the NSW Bushfire Inquiry:

Your response and feedback will help to inform the Inquiry’s report. If you would like to, please refer to the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference

Use the online form (click HERE) to make a submission. You can also provide your feedback by:

The deadline for submissions is now Friday 17th April 2020, but this can be extended for those directly affected by the fires.

The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements was established on 20 February 2020 in response to the extreme bushfire season of 2019-20 which resulted in loss of life, property and wildlife and environmental destruction. The Commission is accepting public submissions on Australia’s preparedness for, and response to, natural disasters drawing on what many Australians experienced during the 2019-20 bushfire season.

Individuals, organisations, community groups and the broader community are welcome to make submissions. The information provided to the Royal Commission will assist the Commission in its work. 

A submission is a statement to the Royal Commission which assists the Commission in collecting information that is relevant to the inquiry as set out in the terms of reference.

If you prefer not to make a submission online, you can call 1800 909 826 to make a verbal submission over the phone, or to request a hard copy submission form be mailed to you for completion and return.


NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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