Australian Institute for Progress welcomes NSW Bushfire Commission Draft Propositions Report

The Australian Institute for Progress welcomes the NSW Bushfire Commission Draft Propositions Report, noting that it has adopted all three of recommendations that the Institute made, but expresses concern at some aspects of the report.

AIP Fellow, Charles Essery, said the AIP had recommended establishing a national fuel load database, appropriate management for roadside vegetation, and a single, scalable standing national body responsible for natural disaster recovery and resilience.

“While all of these are recommendations are present in the Draft Propositions report, I’m concerned at the CSIRO being nominated for the role of national coordinating body.

“CSIRO has not shown any alignment with the thrust of the report.  While it spends a lot of resources monitoring climate change, it has spent none establishing fuel load monitoring techniques, database construction of fuel loads, or analysis.

“Our concern is that CSIRO will take the climate change aspects of fire management to heart, but neglect the issues that make a real, and controllable, difference to bush fires, which are all to do with controlling fuel load.”

Dr Essery said that he urged the commission to ensure that:

  • fuel load information will be given equal if not higher priority funding as climate change data collection;
  • the bureaucracy surrounding intra-departmental conflicts will be removed and major arterial transport routes will be given high priority for hazard reduction/management; and
  • the government will form a unified national “Natural Disaster Resilience Authority”.

“Bushfire management is not working at the moment. That is partly a result of misunderstood natural processes, but also institutional failure. We cannot resolve the first  with the same institutions that have failed.”

The AIP’s submission can be downloaded by clicking here.