The State Liberals are calling on the Weatherill Government to release the interim findings of the Burns Review into South Australia’s emergency management arrangements during the state-wide blackout in September.
“Former South Australia Police Commissioner Gary Burns’ interim findings should be released immediately and a review of this week’s black-out incorporated into his final report,” said State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall.
“Mr Burns was charged with investigating the State’s prevention, preparedness, response and recovery plans to the September blackout and identifying deficiencies and recommending improvements.
“With the prospect of a summer of blackouts looming it was inexcusable for the Premier to go to the Christmas break without having released Mr Burns interim findings.
“Many South Australians are still without power, yet their State Government is no better prepared for dealing with the problems they face than it was when the entire went dark in September.
“Once again the Weatherill Labor Government has been found asleep at the wheel when it comes to the impact of South Australia’s failing electricity system.
“When Jay Weatherill announced the Burns Review he stated an interim report would be provided to him as soon as possible and that there were lessons to be learned.
“Nevertheless, as a government there are always lessons than can be learned from an extreme weather event such as this, so it’s important there’s a thorough, independent review.” (Weatherill press release, 4 October 2016)
“The public should know whether Mr Burns had a view on the importance of police directing traffic at as many intersections as possible when traffic lights fail.
“Yesterday major intersections with the traffic lights out where not manned by police officers for considerable periods of time.
“The public also has the right to understand the rationale behind the schedule employed to determine restoration of power.
“The fact the Weatherill Government watched the Northern Power station close has increased the difficulties in re-energising South Australia’s electricity network when black-outs strike.
“The public have the right to know how that increased waiting is distributed amongst those affected.”
Gary Burns is a highly-respected South Australian and I’m confident he will diligently examine the circumstances surrounding this storm and its aftermath, identify any shortcomings and recommend areas for improvement.