In the A Nation Charred: Report on the inquiry into bushfires the forward offers: ".. A total of almost four million hectares in the Australian Capital Territory and across five Australian states, were severely burned from wildfire. "The devastating loss of stock and property, the heart-breaking loss of bushland and wildlife, together with the tragic loss of confidence suffered by those directly affected by the bushfires, left a nation charred to its physical and spiritual core. "The overwhelming view of the more than five hundred people who presented written and/or oral submissions to the Inquiry on the Recent Australian Bushfires was that proper land management, proper fire prevention principles and proper fire suppression strategies could have greatly limited the risk of these high intensity wildfires. "The Committee heard a consistent message right around Australia:- there has been grossly inadequate hazard reduction burning on public lands for far too long; local knowledge and experience is being ignored by an increasingly top heavy bureaucracy; when accessing the source of fires, volunteers are fed up with having their lives put at risk by fire trails that are blocked and left without maintenance; there is a reluctance by state agencies to aggressively attack bushfires when they first start, thus enabling the fires to build in intensity and making them harder to control; and better communications between and within relevant agencies is long overdue. "Most of the evidence presented came from citizens who rolled up their sleeves and physically fought the fires. The volunteer fire fighters. The landholders. People at the fire front. "We also heard from many retired people who had years of firefighting experience with various state agencies behind them. And we heard from the scientists. The people who lost their homes and their livelihood also told their stories. "In addition, the Committee undertook extensive site inspections to fire devastated areas. "The Committee’s conclusions and recommendations are based on the evidence and deliberations from a very exhaustive process and reflect very much the views of those people with the generations of experience and knowledge of managing our land. The report is one that should be owned by those people. "I recognise and thank the many people who contributed to this inquiry. The five hundred plus people and organisations who provided submissions. Those who appeared at public hearings are particularly acknowledged. "In many cases, it was personally very difficult for them and I admired their courage. Thanks go also to my Committee colleagues and to staff of the Committee secretariat, all of whom were presented with a substantial workload and tight timeframe throughout the inquiry. The level of commitment to the inquiry was exemplary. "Given the devastation of the wildfires in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, it is regrettable that we did not hear from the agencies with responsibilities for land management, fire prevention and fire suppression in those states and territory. Their respective political leaderships chose not to contribute to the inquiry, claiming a lack of resources. "It was noted however, by Committee members and witnesses to the inquiry, that resources were available from many of those agencies to attend and take notes at much of the public hearings. One can only hope that those notes accurately captured and recorded the anger, frustration and sense of betrayal felt by so many people in affected communities. And of course, if those very same notes are not considered and acted upon by the policy makers and decision takers of the various non-participating state agencies, that would indeed be the greatest tragedy of all. "The devastation to property, wildlife and ecology that occurred over such a large part of our country can only be described as a national disaster. "It is my view that there must be serious and sincere recognition of the need to change the culture and practices within many of our public land managers and fire fighting agencies. For never again can we afford to be A Nation Charred. I commend this report to you." Mr Gary Nairn MP Chair 23 October 2003
Image: Last year we saw unprecedented bushfires hit parts of the country that had never really had them before.
Scott Morrison has had months to invest and make sure that Australia is as prepared as possible.
Last season we didn’t have the aerial firefighting equipment in place that we needed, we were asking volunteers to work far, far longer than they should have needed to, and we didn’t invest in those mitigation strategies that would have reduced the damage - This government needs to ensure we are prepared and ready Richard Marles MP Sept 13th 2020