Govt announces response

Govt announces response

27 August 2010

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Australia — All but one of the Bushfire Royal Commission’s recommendations will be implemented in Victoria, the state government announced yesterday.

It has declared full support for 60 of the 68 recommendations, partial support for five and in-principle support for another following a series of public meetings, including one in Bendigo earlier this month.

Support for the implementation of recommendations has been strong among the CFA, Department of Sustainability and Environment and the community.

Black Saturday survivor and Bendigo Bushfire Action Group chairman Paul Epworth raised concerns that the announcement was too soon after public consultation, but said he liked what he’d heard, describing the major recommendations as “awesome”.

“You do have to be proactive, not reactive, when it comes to bushfires – I’m a big believer in the need to be proactive and spend money on burn-offs,” he said.

“You can never knock back a recommendation of more employment, especially when it comes to fighting fires. And the DSE does a wonderful job and to have the finances pumped their way certainly would help.”

CFA chief executive Mick Bourke said adopting the recommendations would bring important and long-lasting improvements to the fire service.

“CFA believes the government’s response to the Royal Commission recommend-

ations will enable significant change,” he said.

“We have learned many important lessons since the devastating 2009 fires… we have already acted on many of those lessons and will be more prepared for the upcoming bushfire season than ever before.”

But state opposition leader Ted Baillieu said Premier John Brumby had deliberately misrepresented some of the Royal Commission’s recommendations.

“A Baillieu government will implement all recommendations because we know that Victorians want action, not more talk on bushfire protection,” he said.

“The Coalition in government will appoint a single minister for bushfire response and act to protect Victorians from bushfire, instead of talking endlessly.’’

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