Heed local advice in bushfire management  

Key recommendations for improving bushfire management are missing from the Royal Commission’s interim observations into Natural Disaster Arrangements, according to NSW Farmers. 

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.”

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 re-commit to the current, regionally based approach to planning and coordinating hazard reduction activitiesacross 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. Many of our Members of course are also active members of their local RFS,” Mr Jackson said. 

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. 

Date: Wednesday, 2 September 2020
Media Contact:  Michael Burt  | 0428 228 988 | burtm@nswfarmers.org.au