NSW government Bushfire Inquiry to meet in Wauchope on Tuesday, March 24

Inquiry visits: The state government's Bushfire Inquiry will meet in Wauchope on Tuesday March 24.
Inquiry visits: The state government's Bushfire Inquiry will meet in Wauchope on Tuesday March 24.

The NSW Bushfire Inquiry will sit in Wauchope on Tuesday, March 24.

The Wauchope meeting will be the fourth the inquiry has held.

The inquiry covers a range of issues including, responses to bushfires, communications, resourcing and the causes of and contributing factors to, the frequency, intensity, timing and location of bushfires.

It will also consider any role of weather, drought, climate change, fuel loads and human activity.

Former deputy commission of NSW Police, Dave Owens and chair of the Independent Planning Commission, Professor Mary O'Kane are leading the inquiry.

The inquiry will be travelling to a number of bushfire-affected communities to meet with and hear directly from people who have been affected.

The inquiry will inform local communities ahead of all visits to ensure it reaches as many people as possible.

Community meetings are one part of the Inquiry. The Inquiry will also meet with local incident teams, RFS brigades, Aboriginal communities, councils, and industry and business representatives to better understand the local impacts of and perspectives on the bushfires.

The schedule for community visits is currently being finalised. Upcoming public meetings will be published to this website as soon as details are confirmed.

A NSW government spokesperson says submissions to the inquiry opened on Monday February 10, as at February 19 over 100 submissions have been received.

"It's great to see so many members of the community engaging with the inquiry at such an early stage, and we encourage everyone to share their experience and tell their story to inform the Inquiry's work," the spokesperson said.

"The deadline for submissions is March 27, 2020, but this can be extended for those directly affected by the fires."

The deadline for submissions is March 27, 2020, but this can be extended for those directly affected by the fires.

NSW government

The Inquiry is to consider, and report to the Premier on, the following matters.

The causes of, and factors contributing to, the frequency, intensity, timing and location of, bushfires in NSW in the 2019-20 bushfire season, including consideration of any role of weather, drought, climate change, fuel loads and human activity.

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The preparation and planning by agencies, government, other entities and the community for bushfires in NSW, including current laws, practices and strategies, and building standards and their application and effect.

Responses to bushfires, particularly measures to control the spread of the fires and to protect life, property and the environment, including:

  • immediate management, including the issuing of public warnings
  • resourcing, coordination and deployment
  • equipment and communication systems.
  • Any other matters that the inquiry deems appropriate in relation to bushfires.
  • And to make recommendations arising from the Inquiry as considered appropriate, including on:
  • Preparation and planning for future bushfire threats and risks.
  • Land use planning and management and building standards, including appropriate clearing and other hazard reduction, zoning, and any appropriate use of indigenous practices.
  • Appropriate action to adapt to future bushfire risks to communities and ecosystems.
  • Emergency responses to bushfires, including overall human and capital resourcing.
  • Coordination and collaboration by the NSW Government with the Australian Government, other state and territory governments and local governments.
  • Safety of first responders.
  • Public communication and advice systems and strategies.

Professor O'Kane and Mr Owens are visiting fire-affected communities and invite community members to share their views.

The community meeting is on Tuesday March 24, 5.30pm until 7.30pm, Wauchope Showground.

Three public meetings have already been held at Lithgow, Tenterfield and Glen Innes.

The Terms of Reference are available at the NSW government bushfire inquiry website.

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