In a response to the Independent Review of South Australia’s 2019/20 bushfire season, the South Australian government has announced nearly $100-million of funding ahead of the upcoming fire danger season.
On Friday, a $49-million action plan has been unveiled in addition to the $48.5-million announced in July.
This means a total of $97.5-million will be injected into the state’s Emergency Services Sector and the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) to equip the state with stronger resources in preparation for future catastrophic bushfire events.
Create a stronger and more resilient state
Premier Steven Marshall said the response was part of creating a safer, stronger and more resilient South Australia.
“Last year’s devastating bushfire season saw almost 279,000 hectares of land burnt, almost 68,000 livestock perished and, tragically, three lives lost,” Marshall said.
“In January this year we asked highly-respected former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty AO to conduct an Independent Review to look at what can be done to mitigate the impacts of bushfires on our communities into the future.
“We have responded swiftly to the review and have already begun implementing a number of immediate action items in preparation for the 2020/21 bushfire season,” the Premier added.
Sixty-eight findings and 15 recommendations
A total of 68 findings and 15 recommendations were identified as part of the Independent Review and five key themes highlighted were highlighted.
These are: Additional support and resources for volunteers, including extra staff and equipment; Better protection for critical assets; Enhanced communications and technology; Improved information before, during and after bushfires; and Improved mental health support for Emergency Services Sector.
Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services, Vincent Tarzia, said the response to the Keelty Review was about protecting South Australians and ensuring those risking their safety on the frontline are protected with the best technology and equipment available.
Blazes were among the worst recorded
“The conditions that gripped the state in the 2019/20 bushfire season were some of the worst on record. Blazes wreaked havoc in the Adelaide Hills, Kangaroo Island, Yorke Peninsula, Eyre Peninsula, and the South East,” Tarzia said.
“Our Emergency Services staff and volunteers deserve the upmost respect for their extraordinary efforts to protect lives and property.
“The … comprehensive response outlines how we can support these groups, so that South Australia is better prepared for its next bushfire emergency.”