Australia — A progress report detailing the State Government’s response plan to the 67 recommendations made by the Bushfires Royal Commission was tabled in State Parliament last Tuesday.
A comprehensive report detailing the Victorian Coalition Government’s progress and plans to implement the commission’s recommendations was tabled.
Bushfire Response Minister Peter Ryan said the plan outlined the extensive measures that were being taken by the State Government to improve Victoria’s response to future bushfires.
“Victoria’s tragic 2009 bushfires represented one of Australia’s worst natural disasters,” Mr Ryan said.
“This implementation plan marks an important step on the road to improved fire preparation in this state.”
More than $900 million will be invested to implement all the recommendations.
Independ ent Bushfire Implementation Monitor Neil Comrie will help implement the recommendations and report to the Victorian Parliament on the progress by 31 July this year, and again by 31 July 2012.
Mr Ryan said bushfires would inevitably occur again in Victoria in future years but the severity of fires and the threat to fire-prone communities could be minimised.
Key measures detailed in the report include reducing fuel load on public land while monitoring and carefully managing ecological consequences; maintenance of strategic fire breaks to protect communities and their critical assets, such as water; limiting known fire-starting activities on days with a dangerous fire risk; and encouraging people living in unacceptably high bushfire risk areas to relocate to safer environments.
Investments have been made to gather fire intelligence, analysis and predictive capabilities.
Funding to begin important work to upgrade electricity assets has also been provided, as well as staffing, training, volunteer support, fire-fighter safety, procedures, technology, equipment and facilities in incident and emergency management on the ground.