28 July 2011

WALIS: Commonwealth Responds to Senate Report on Bushfires

WALIS eNews: Attorney-General Robert McClelland today said the Commonwealth Government has tabled its response to the Senate Select Committee on Agricultural and Related Industries’ report on bushfire mitigation and preparedness in Australia.

The report - The incidence and severity of bushfires across Australia - includes 15 recommendations aimed at reducing the incidence and effects of catastrophic bushfires in Australia.

Other initiatives already being implemented include:

  • Developing the National Bushfire Management Policy Statement for Forests and Rangelands with States and Territories. It provides the framework and principles for fire management, which will be reflected in local agencies’ codes of practice to ensure that they are implemented in operations.
  • Implementing the National Forum on Bushfire Arson.  The third annual Forum was held in Canberra last month.
  • Establishing the Australian Government’s Crisis Coordination Centre which has lead to improved information sharing and coordination between the Commonwealth and states and territories.
  • Developing strong guidelines on the broadcast of emergency warnings and a guide to support the wording of such warnings, in line with the Committee’s recommendation for the use of consistent terminology in disaster warnings.
  • Working with the States and Territories to improve training and education.  The Government’s Australian Emergency Management Institute develops and delivers a suite of training and education, including nationally accredited courses, for the emergency management sector. The Institute is well placed to assist states and territories coordinate and develop modern curriculum for bushfire training.
  • Emergency Management Australia (EMA) will continue to collaborate with the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council to help coordinate resources and personnel during times of severe natural disasters.  Cross-agency resource sharing protocols have also been improved and EMA has introduced annual pre-season briefings to inform jurisdictions of Commonwealth resources available during emergency operations.

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