Fire actions incomplete: inquiry

Fire actions incomplete: inquiry

16 July 2016

published by

Australia— The State Government has drastically overstated its progress in implementing the recommendations of multiple bushfire disaster inquiries dating back five years, it can be revealed.

A comprehensive breakdown of six special inquiries, major incident reviews and post-incident analyses contained in the appendices of last month’s Yarloop-Waroona fire report shows just 100 out of 189 recommendations (53 per cent) have been completed.

The Government’s hand-picked investigator Euan Ferguson found the remaining 89 were incomplete, not fulfilled, still in progress or unable to be measured.

The recommendations arose from fires in the Perth Hills in 2010, Margaret River (2011), Nannup (2011) and Parkerville/Stoneville/Mt Helena (2014).

The State Government consistently claims to have completed all but a few Keelty reforms from Perth Hills and Margaret River.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services told the Waroona inquiry it had completed “97.8” of recommendations for which it was responsible.

But Mr Ferguson did “not share this view”, claiming there were “differing views as to what constitutes ‘complete’” and he was concerned by “deficiencies in the ability of DFES to gather and communicate lessons from previous incidents”.

“The approach taken to date in reporting on implementation appears focussed on counting recommendations completed rather that measuring overall progress and change,” he wrote.

For example, the Government considers that it has completed a Keelty recommendation to convene a working group to adopt Victorian a traffic management model. While the working group was convened, it ultimately recommended the model not be adopted because it was too “cumbersome”.

Other “incomplete” recommendations include moving responsibility for the Emergency Services Levy from DFES to the Department of Finance, multi-agency prescribed burning operations and better use of social media.

Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis said Keelty recommendations would be reviewed to ensure their intent was being met, while his Opposition counterpart Margaret Quirk accused the Government of “taking its eye off the ball”.

State Emergency Management Committee executive director Mal Cronstedt said it would soon begin reporting to Mr Francis on the extent to which previous recommendations had been implemented.

“In readiness for this role, the SEMC Secretariat is also currently reviewing the way it monitors the implementation of recommendations stemming from major incident reviews or inquiries to deal with the shortcomings identified by Mr Ferguson,” he said.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien