30 April 2020

Bushfire RC submissions top 1,400 following devastating black summer

| Dominic Giannini
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The Orroral Valley fire

The Orroral Valley fire burnt over 80 per cent of the Namadgi National Park. Photo: Gary Hooker ACTRFS.

More than 1,400 submissions to the National Natural Disaster Arrangements Royal Commission – commonly referred to as the Bushfire Royal Commission – have been received as of Tuesday (28 April).

The 2019/20 ‘black summer’ bushfires killed at least 34 people and burnt more than 18 million hectares.

Around 78 per cent of submissions were individual submissions, nearly 200 were received over the phone or sent into the Commission directly, and 1,230 were made through the Commission’s online portal or via email.

However, this figure is set to increase when postal submissions are received. General public submissions closed Tuesday (28 April).

“The Commission will consider each submission against its terms of reference ahead of upcoming hearings,” a spokesperson said.

“The end of the general submission period does not signal the end of community consultation.

“The Commission will continue to consult individuals and organisations, including through a series of roundtable discussions and workshops designed to canvass specific issues and practical measures for improvement.”

The ACT Government did make a submission but has not made it public. A spokesperson told Region Media that it is up to the Royal Commission to make any submissions publically available.

Submissions will be made public on a rolling basis and will be posted on the Royal Commission’s website.

The ACT Legislative Assembly is also carrying out its own inquiry into the bushfires. Submissions for the ‘Review of ACT emergency services responses to the 2019-20 bushfire season’ close on 1 July.

The Bushfire Royal Commission is being led by former Chief of the Australian Defence Force Mark Binskin, former Federal Court judge Dr Annabelle Bennett and ANU environmental law and policy expert Professor Andrew Macintosh.

Hearings are expected to be conducted in two phases during late May and late June. A final report will be prepared by the end of August.

For more information, visit the Royal Commission’s website.

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