Steps needed to improve bushfires response

The national cabinet could be useful in co-ordinating efforts in dealing with bushfires.
The national cabinet could be useful in co-ordinating efforts in dealing with bushfires.

EARLY OBSERVATIONS FROM BUSHFIRES ROYAL COMMISSION

* Catastrophic fire conditions may become more common, rendering traditional bushfire prediction models and firefighting techniques less effective

* The national cabinet (prime minister and premiers) could be useful to co-ordinate efforts in dealing with bushfires

* There may be benefit in a single, scalable standing body responsible for natural disaster recovery and resilience at the Australian government level

* Work on a national all-hazard warning system should be completed as a priority, as well as a national approach to map-based apps such as Fires Near Me

* Consideration should be given to extra employment protections for volunteers

* The declaration of a "national emergency" should be better defined, with clearer information about how it interacts with state and territory declarations

* A modest, Australian-based aerial firefighting capability may be needed

* The role of the Australian Defence Force in supporting emergency responses needs to be clearer in practical and legal terms

* Better national information systems are needed in terms of climate information, platforms to store and distribute information, tools for managing risk and warning systems

* National consistency is needed for air quality standards

* Evacuation planning and shelter options need clarity, especially when dealing with evacuations across borders and from aged care facilities

* Greater co-ordination is needed to ensure power and telecommunications companies can quickly restore services

* More work is needed to understand how best to manage public and private land, including hazard reduction

* Indigenous land and fire management practices can be better used.

Australian Associated Press