The State Government has announced an independent review will be conducted into the unprecedented 2019/20 bushfire season with a focus on both the Kangaroo Island and Cudlee Creek bushfires.
The intent of the review, which is to start immediately, is to look into South Australia’s preparedness for dealing with significant bushfire activity and what can be done to mitigate the impact of bushfires on our communities into the future.
The State Government has asked former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty to lead the review with the support of the South Australian Emergency Services Commission (SAFECOM) and experts from across our State’s emergency services sector.
Premier Steven Marshall said although the season isn’t over yet and there remains a risk of further bushfire activity in the coming months, it’s important to start looking into how the State can adapt and learn from recent events.
“This season has been particularly difficult and devastating for dozens of communities with huge losses never experienced before,” the Premier said.
“This is about ensuring our State is as ready and prepared as we can be for further significant bushfires.
“We know there is still a long road to recovery and that our dedicated firefighters are still on high alert, but if we can take something valuable from what we have lived through then we will be better placed to respond in years to come.”
Minister for Emergency Services Corey Wingard said the review will have a broad scope and will look into preparation, planning, community resilience, response and recovery.
“There are many areas in which we need to focus our attention to ensure we are appropriately positioned to respond to and recover from significant natural disaster events,” the Minister said.
“Our emergency services have done an outstanding job these past few months and this inquiry will help identify any learnings that can be applied next season.”
Mick Keelty said the fires across southern and eastern Australia this bushfire season have already had a devastating impact on communities such as Kangaroo Island and the Adelaide Hills.
Mr Keelty will be able to draw upon his significant operational experience and the reviews he has conducted after previous bushfire seasons on behalf of other States.
“I look forward to the opportunity of working with the South Australian Government and those involved in the firefighting operations to review and analyse the bushfire season to improve bushfire preparedness for the future,” Mr Keelty said.
Findings of the review are anticipated to be delivered by the end of June 2020 well ahead of our next bushfire season.