Bega Valley Bushfire Independent Report 2018 Released By Minister

Bega Valley Bushfire Independent Report 2018 Released By Minister

New South Wales Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant

Independent Report Into Bega Valley Bush Fire

Victor P Taffa

Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant today released the independent report into the Bega Valley bush fire.

New South Wales Government commissioned former Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Mick Keelty AO APM to undertake a review following the devastating fires that damaged Tathra, Reedy Swamp and Vimy Ridge on 18 March this year.

Mr. Keelty was engaged to independently assess the adequacy of the fire services response to the fire, and review state-wide call taking and dispatch arrangements of Fire & Rescue New South Wales (FRNSW) and the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS).

Minister Grant said the Keelty Review highlighted the extreme weather conditions on the day of the fires and found it hard to suggest that any better outcome could have resulted on the day.

“I again acknowledge the local firefighters and personnel who worked tirelessly to protect the people and properties of the Bega Valley. The commitment and courage of the members of all our firefighters throughout NSW is without question.” Minister Grant said.

Minister Grant said the independent report lays out a simple plan for operational reform and will eliminate any excuses or doubts about the agencies’ ability to work together.

“Commitment and courage shown every day by our firefighters is commended and beyond question and their efforts should not be tarnished by rumours or undermined by agency disputes.”

Key recommendations in the report include:

  • Abolishing the use of fire districts for the purpose of dispatching resources
  • Taking steps to roll out Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) technology to the RFS fleet
  • Implementing a single, consolidated and civilianised emergency services call and dispatch centre
  • Reviewing public information arrangements with a particular focus on improving links with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“New South Wales Government supports all 12 recommendations in the report and is committed to ensuring their implementation. In fact, a number of them have already, or are in the process of being implemented.” Minister Grant said.

“Commissioners of the NSW RFS and FRNSW are working with a single goal of making sure community safety comes first and they have my full support to ensure all of their staff, all of our volunteers and all of the agencies’ combined resources work seamlessly together to achieve this.”

Minister Grant thanked Mr. Keelty for his efforts and contribution throughout the review process.

“New South Wales Government is committed to improving the safety and security of the people of New South Wales and these reforms will ensure our emergency services continue to serve our community to the highest standards.” Minister Grant said.

“Outcome of the review presents an opportunity for the emergency services to deliver greater operational collaboration and I sincerely thank Mr. Keelty for his work.”

New South Wales Government has tasked the Emergency Services Board of Commissioners to develop an implementation plan regarding the recommendations.