Government to refute Coroners findings today

Thumper 7 January 2008 14

Nothing on line as yet. However, Simon Corbell will today release a statement today at 1300 on the government’s findings regarding the damning coroners report into the 2003 fires.

There is also the suggestion that the government, in it’s now blatant attempt to deflect any blame whatsoever, is looking at wasting more of our tax dollars by taking the whole issue to the Supreme Court.

The Readers Digest chronology of the events reads like this.

2003- half of canberra burns down
2003- Stanhope says ‘blame me’
2004- Stanhope says, ‘well, actually, I was just saying that at the time. Blame someone else’
2004- Stanhope government appoints Doogan as coroner whilst now blaming everyone he can think of, and buckpassing as much as possible.
2005- After much obstruction ( a year) by the Stanhope government Doogan gets to work
2006- Coroner releases scathing report on government failures
2007- Stanhope arrogantly dismisses the report as lies, conveniently forgetting that they put her there to examine the whole thing.
2007- Government releases its reply, with the suggestion of taking it further.

(Okay, my dates may be out but you get the picture….)

The current government is a sham and a disgrace and not fit to hold office. And let’s face it folks, there is no way in hell they are going to release any information about what actually happened. Buckpassing, lies, mistruths, ambiguous statements, juvenile school yard bully tactics, and strong arm legal tactics are all anybody is ever going to see.

[ED – The Canberra Times explains the secretive efforts to have the umpire sent off]

UPDATED: And now the ABC is on the story.

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14 Responses to Government to refute Coroners findings today
teddy bear teddy bear 2:49 pm 01 Mar 07

The fire that took out Duffy came from Macintyres hut. Looking at the CSIRO Research Forester’s video of that fire on 8th and 9th makes it obvious that it could have been put out without too much fuss. Suggest you all keep a look out for the ABC Four Corners program (not yet advertised) which should screen on 12th March.

louise louise 2:13 pm 28 Feb 07

Why in this thread has no-one mentioned the incendiaries that were released hours too late and in completely the wrong place on the Saturday?

The locals are convinced that starting a firebreak in the middle of a hot, windy day on the wrong side of the fire-crew who was there to put it out was a main cause of the fire reaching Canberra. (It was suppoed to happen early in the morning, with a fire crew between it and Canberra.)

Can someone who read the report tell me if the people in charge of the helicopter are being brought to account for that?

Maelinar Maelinar 4:22 pm 27 Feb 07

Tks gurunik 🙂

I have already had my run-in with ESA and their new radio system, made my Commander nearly wet himself with laughter when I put in my qualifications at the end of it. Makes it hard to argue communications issues with somebody that is actually qualified to use them.

Trolls: yes it’s me.


Thumper Thumper 4:01 pm 27 Feb 07

According to the SMH the ACT government has agreed to implement 61 of the 73 recommendations.

However, the government has refused to implement two key recommendations, those being that the Emergency Services Authority (ESA) become a statutory authority for the government to establish a separate courts authority.

Mr Corbell said, “The ESA does not have to be a stand-alone organisation to maintain operational autonomy,” and that the government could not create the authority because it would duplicate bureaucracy.

Mrs Doogan’s report stated that Chief Minister Jon Stanhope had “either misunderstood or deliberately downplayed the seriousness of the situation”. The report, however, made no recommendations on how cabinet could better respond to any future emergency.

Mr Corbell obviously could not help himself and had to accuse Mrs Doogan of making political comments.

So there it is.

Storm in a teacup or another snowjob?

You be the judge.

gurunik gurunik 2:56 pm 27 Feb 07

there are at least 4 new foam pumpers on the ground, and i think there are a couple of new tankers getting around since the fires, not to mention the new radio system. the esa nearly went broke getting new toys….

Ari Ari 2:35 pm 27 Feb 07

Apparently the ACT Government has agreed to implement 51 of the 73 coroner’s recommendations.

Which 51 I wonder?

Maelinar Maelinar 2:11 pm 27 Feb 07

The regrowth of trees that burned in 2003 hit about 1.5m this year. Next year they will be 2-3m high in some places.

The fire risk they pose, being uncontrolled growth and not having been touched since 2003 will be catastrophic if they are on fire, the spread and devestation will be quicker and more volatile because of the speed fire can travel through low bush.

I am not aware of any new firefighting equipment actually being on the ground since the 2003 fire incident.

I haven’t seriously looked yet

If a new fire event happens in the ACT, will Jon Jon get up and say ‘blame me’ again, but this time mean it ?

Will he recall what happens this time ?

Duffy, for their part, won’t burn again – not since being underwater last month because regrowth hadn’t made it back into the foothills around their suburb, causing massive runoffs and flooding from water catchment funnels.

barking toad barking toad 2:00 pm 27 Feb 07

Exactly mutley, futto misses the point.

This is all about the mayor and those in charge not providing sufficient warnings to those likely to be affected to enable them firstly to prepare and then plan their response once the impact of the firestorm was imment – that is, evacuate or stay and protect property.

That is what contributed to excessive losses.

There is also the issue of some levels of incompetence at the the management of the fires as I posted previously and the Coroner made points in regard to this.

Chapter 7 clearly sheets home the responsibility for failure to advise those likely to be impacted.

mutley mutley 1:31 pm 27 Feb 07

I seem to recall that the coronor didn’t address things like load build up as it was something out of jurisdiction.

What she DID look at was the things that Barking Toad has mentioned above, including Stanhope (as Chief Minister and acting Minister for whatever it was that day) deliberately downplaying the seriousness of the situation, which led to the destruction being worse than it may have been.

futto futto 1:18 pm 27 Feb 07

Labor had only been in office for 18 months when the fires hit.

Its political spin to claim that somehow Stanhope could have magically fixed the years of underfunding, poor planning and incompetent management of the ESA.

I mean, ffs, the whole week before the fires, the whole town was covered in a thick smoke. Phil Koperberg was saying on the Wednesday before that if the weather prediction held true, then saturday would be nasty.

Even the fires the year before that went to the mint should have been a warning to the ESA but they didnt do enough in the year after that.

Stanhope did say “blame me” though so i suppose then its ok to scapegoat one man for the failing of previous governments and the departments they funded to protect us.

Thumper Thumper 12:04 pm 27 Feb 07

yeah, I did forget that…

However, interesting to see what the government comes up with to defend their position.

maybe it will be a one line media release along the lines of:

‘We totally and utterly refute the findings of the coroner’.

Oh that’s right, they’ve already said that…

mutley mutley 11:20 am 27 Feb 07

Thumper, I think you forgot something:

2004- Stanhope government appoints Doogan as coroner whilst now blaming everyone he can think of, and buckpassing as much as possible.
2004 – Doogan gets to work and Stanhope doesn’t like what he sees (train with no brakes headed his direction), so he wastes money trying to change umpire
2005- After much obstruction ( a year) by the Stanhope government Doogan gets BACK to work

barking toad barking toad 10:04 am 27 Feb 07

You apparently haven’t read the Coroner’s report Unbeliever.

Chapter 7 is the most damning. It deals with the warnings, or really the lack of, issued to the community and particularly to those in the western suburbs of Canberra that bore the brunt of the firestorm. That is the real issue.

The wisdom of hindsight strongly suggests that different and direct attacks on the outbreaks on day 1 may have prevented them spreading. But that didn’t happen and the fires grew. It’s the failure of the government and it’s agencies to subsequently warn the community so that preparations could be made in advance that is the thrust of the Coroner’s findings. Once the fires spread to the pine forests and with the conditions prevailing on 18 January 2003 nothing was going to stop the fires hitting the suburbs.

But, had the community been warned and had the opportunity to prepare and then make a decision to stay and defend property or evacuate, it’s very likely the losses would have been much less.

The residents of Tharwa were warned by Val Jeffrey and consequently were well prepared – the village was saved, no loss of property or life.

Contrast that with the mayor’s efforts commenting on radio at about 3.00pm 18 January telling people not to panic and that the state of emergency was just an administrative matter. At the time, of course, houses were ablaze in Duffy.

All the efforts since that time by the mayor and co. have been directed at arse-covering. Except immediately after the fires when he said “blame me”. We do and now he says “don’t”.

Unbeliever Unbeliever 9:10 am 27 Feb 07

Governments, like any other legal body, in this country have a right to use the appellate courts all the way to the High Court. It’s a right that everyone has. It may be a waste of money when appeals happen but that’s a reality of the legal system.

The bush fire was tragic, but by all accounts even the best equiped fire fighting services wouldn’t have been able to cope. And implying that Stanhope was deliberately incompetant knowing that such damage would be caused is laughable.

The goverment may have under funded existing public services – so that they couldn’t react more aggressively to the fires – but what public sector service would readily claim that they get well funded by their government – ANY government? Even the fire fighting volunteers stated last week that the Lib’s no-confidence motion was grandstanding. So much for a viable opposition.

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