The NSW Rural Fire Crew work to stop a bushfire. Picture Rohan Kelly
The NSW Rural Fire Crew work to stop a bushfire. Picture Rohan Kelly

Farmers think bushfire report is missing key elements

THE Royal Commission's interim observations into disastrous 2019-20 bushfire season are missing key recommendations for improving bushfire management, according to NSW Farmers.

The interim report, which was released on Monday, made note of several key issues that should be addressed to ensure Australia doesn't see another horrific summer.

But NSW Farmers' President James Jackson said while improved national consistency across a number of areas for natural disaster management was identified, the critical issues of improved responsiveness for fire management and suppression were not highlighted.

"Nor is the critical need for significant improvements in recognising and responding to local advice," Mr Jackson said.

"It is also disappointing that there are no observations regarding the importance of a clearly articulated strategy for the management of fuel loads in heavily forested areas on public land."

 

A local surveys the remains of the fire on the road to Wytaliba, the day after a fierce bush fire claimed the lives of two people in the area, burnt out peoples homes and houses smoulder at Wytaliba located deep in a remote valley east of Glen Innes, NSW. Lyndon Mechielsen/The Australian
A local surveys the remains of the fire on the road to Wytaliba, the day after a fierce bush fire claimed the lives of two people in the area, burnt out peoples homes and houses smoulder at Wytaliba located deep in a remote valley east of Glen Innes, NSW. Lyndon Mechielsen/The Australian

 

Mr Jackson said the Royal Commission has identified the importance of improved land use planning, diverse hazard reduction strategies and adopting indigenous fire management techniques in reducing the impact of bushfires.

"NSW Farmers has long held the view that hazard reduction management needs improving on public land and this could include options such as landscape scale hazard reduction and strategic grazing in National Parks."

Recommendations released last week from the NSW Government Bushfire Review included that the state Government recommit to the current, regionally based approach to planning and co-ordinating hazard reduction activities across all tenures through the Bush Fire Management Committees.

"NSW Farmers has representatives on the Bush Fire Management Committees, which is an important way for the farming community to engage with the RFS," Mr Jackson said.

"Many of our Members of course are also active members of their local RFS."

The NSW Government Bushfire Review also recommended greater support for local councils and partner agencies to implement more comprehensive hazard reduction at a local level around towns, communities and infrastructure and to provide incentives for communities to organise themselves to prioritise and implement local hazard reduction initiatives



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