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    The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements was established on the 20th February 2020 in response to the horrific 2019/20 fire season. The final report was delivered to the Governor-General on the 28th October 2020, and tabled in Parliament on 30th October 2020.

    The Federal Government released its response to the Royal Commission on Friday the 13th November 2020 and since Tuesday 2 February 2021 releases a document tracking its progress monthly. Some of the Federal Government’s language around intent to implement is unclear or non-committal and many recommendations have not been assigned a due date. Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA) have repeatedly sought clarification from the Federal Government on this matter.

    The Federal Government needs to clearly accept all of the findings of the Bushfire Royal Commission, and set clear and urgent deadlines for implementation. The Government has not clearly outlined which recommendations it has accepted, with many recommendations “noted” or “supported in principle”. This tracker reflects which recommendations have clearly been supported by the Government.

    It has been

    276 days
    since the Royal Commission presented its report to the Government

    Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA) contributed to the Royal Commission through submissions, witness testimony and an open letter signed by over 9000 community members. The final report acknowledges what ELCA and numerous other bushfire inquiry reports have already stated: climate change fuelled the severity of the 2019/20 bushfire season and will continue to drive worsening bushfire seasons in years to come.

    The Royal Commission’s recommendations are sensible and align with ELCA’s Australian Bushfire and Climate Plan’s 165 recommendations. Now it is the job of the Government to urgently implement these recommendations to help protect Australian communities from worsening bushfires.

    To help hold the Government to account on implementing the Royal Commission, we are highlighting 10 recommendations of the 80 and tracking their progress live. We are also advocating for the Australian Government to achieve net zero emissions as soon as possible, including ending the burning of coal, oil and gas – the driving force behind the climate crisis and worsening bushfires.

    Key Recommendations

    01

    Understanding the climate risks

    Recommendation 4.5 National climate projections

    Australian, state and territory governments should produce downscaled climate projections:

    (1) to inform the assessment of future natural disaster risk by relevant decision makers, including state and territory government agencies with planning and emergency management responsibilities
    (2) underpinned by an agreed common core set of climate trajectories and timelines, and
    (3) subject to regular review.

    02

    Boosting firefighting capability

    Recommendation 8.1 A sovereign aerial firefighting capability

    Australian, state and territory governments should develop an Australian-based and registered national aerial firefighting capability, to be tasked according to greatest national need. This capability should include:

    (1) a modest, very large air tanker/large air tanker, and Type-1 helicopter capability, including supporting infrastructure, aircrew and aviation support personnel, and
    (2) any other aerial firefighting capabilities (eg Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), line-scanning, transport, and logistics) that would benefit from a nationally coordinated approach.

    03

    Community education and warnings

    Recommendation 10.1 Disaster education for individuals and communities

    State and territory governments should continue to deliver, evaluate and improve education and engagement programs aimed at promoting disaster resilience for individuals and communities.

    04

    Recommendation 14.1 Nationally consistent air quality information, health advice and interventions

    Australian, state and territory governments should:

    (1) develop close to real-time, nationally consistent air quality information, including consistent categorisation and public health advice
    (2) greater community education and guidance, and
    (3) targeted health advice to vulnerable groups.

    05

    Health

    Recommendation 15.2 Inclusion of primary care in disaster management

    Australian, state and territory governments should develop arrangements that facilitate greater inclusion of primary healthcare providers in disaster management, including: representation on relevant disaster committees and plans and providing training, education and other supports.

    06

    Recommendation 15.3 Prioritising mental health during and after natural disasters

    Australian, state and territory governments should refine arrangements to support localised planning and the delivery of appropriate mental health services following a natural disaster.

    07

    Wildlife protection

    Recommendation 16.1 Environmental data

    Australian, state and territory governments should ensure greater consistency and collaboration in the collation, storage, access and provision of data on the distribution and conservation status of Australian flora and fauna.

    08

    Leadership of First Nations

    Recommendation 18.1 Indigenous land and fire management and natural disaster resilience

    Australian, state, territory and local governments should engage further with Traditional Owners to explore the relationship between Indigenous land and fire management and natural disaster resilience.

    09

    Simpler access to support

    Recommendation 22.8 Streamline the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements processes

    Australian, state and territory governments should create simpler Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements application processes.

    10

    Accountability

    Recommendation 24.1 Accountability and assurance mechanisms at the Australian Government level

    The Australian Government should establish accountability and assurance mechanisms to promote continuous improvement and best practice in natural disaster arrangements.

    Chip in today to push for the findings from the Bushfire Royal Commission to be urgently implemented.

    Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA) is a project supported by the Climate Council. We are independent and funded by donations from people like you. Your donation will ensure our vital work continues.