Dec 15, 2023 | Media Releases, Media Releases 2023

Reports that states are facing another catastrophic bushfire season due to a lack of hazard reduction fly in the face of Government claims that all obligations from the Bushfire Royal Commission have been met.

Despite Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt telling the Natural disaster preparedness summit in September he was confident that as a country we’re well prepared for the conditions forecast, it is now obvious states are well behind in their hazard reduction activities according to Shadow Minister for Emergency Management, Perin Davey.

“In NSW, since the Black Summer bushfires only 38 percent of the state’s hazard reduction target has been completed over 4 years,” Senator Davey said.

“That includes only 15 percent against the 2023-24 target, leaving 274,000ha still at risk this year.

“The NSW Volunteer Fire Fighters Association prior to the Summit highlighted a number of key issues which have not been addressed.

“Even the NSW Emergency Services Minister Jihad Dib has acknowledged NSW had not met all its reduction targets.

“They want to blame the floods, but hazard reduction must be ongoing and things like fire trails should be maintained continuously and not left until the last minute.

“Widespread floods last year wiped out many roads and tracks through places like national parks, but over a year has passed and these repairs should have been a priority to ensure firefighters can get access if they need to.

“As soon as the flood waters subsided, we were warned that the increased growth and the drying conditions meant we were heading into a high-risk bushfire season.

“What was learnt at the disaster talkfest in September, and was it enough to protect NSW and other states from potential bushfire catastrophes this summer?”