New South Wales

NSW Government releases response to 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission

THE NSW Government this month released its response to the recommendations of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission and announced $106.9 million in funding for bushfire protection.

The government said it will introduce a package of measures, including increased rapid aerial attack resources, upgrades to fire-fighter pagers and radios and an extra $84 million for hazard reduction works.

NSW Premier Kristina Keneally said that while NSW has developed strong, coordinated and cohesive bush fire prevention and fire fighting arrangements, it cannot be complacent.

"It is incumbent on us to learn from Victoria's terrible Black Saturday experience, which is why we're boosting vital services across the state with this $106.9 million bushfire package," Ms Keneally said.

Following the 2009 Victorian bushfires and the interim Royal Commission recommendations, NSW has introduced new programs and initiatives including: new fire danger ratings; the identification of over 800 Neighbourhood Safer Places; an emergency alert telephone warning system; and improved availability of information during fires.

The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission final report outlined 67 recommendations about changes needed to reduce the risk, and the consequences, of similar disasters in the future. The Commission outlined eighteen recommendations for planning and building.

In response to the planning and building recommendations, the NSW Government supported 2 of the recommendations and did not support 3. It stated that 7 of the recommendations were consistent with its policies and programs and 6 were partially consistent.

Among the planning and building recommendations not supported by the NSW Government were the implementation of a 'regional settlement policy' and a 'retreat and resettlement' strategy for existing developments in areas of unacceptably high bushfire risk.

The full NSW Government response to the recommendations of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission is available from the NSW Rural Fire Service website at <http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/>.

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