Two major bushfire inquiries calling for submissions - "slow recovery rollout" to be examined


Two major bushfire disaster inquiries are calling for submissions by Friday, but with extensions available.  Image courtesy RFS. 

There are currently two bushfire inquiries calling for submissions from the public. 

The federal senate bushfire inquiry  (click here to go to the website) is calling for submissions by Friday, but with the possibility of extensions for people in bushfire affected regions; and the NSW government's bushfire inquiry is also calling for public submissions by this Friday, again with extensions possible, (click here to go to the NSW bushfire inquiry website).

The federal senate inquiry chair, Labor's Tim Ayres was in Cobargo on Friday and said the senate inquiry has broader terms of reference than the royal commission (a  third inquiry). The deadline for submissions to the royal commission has passed, and hearings have already been held.

He said this morning the senate inquiry was an opportunity for Australians to send a message to the Federal Government about how the devastating summer bushfires were handled and to ensure lessons are learned for the future and says the senate inquiry will visit the region to conduct hearings when able to do so. 

He said the inquiry would examine how well governments, charities and the private sector prepared for and responded to the bushfires, as well as focusing on the Federal Government’s recovery efforts so far.

Shadow Minister for Disaster and Emergency Management and committee member Senator Murray Watt said disturbing reports of slow recovery rollout would be a strong focus for the inquiry.

“There are still people on the ground waiting on support which the Government promised would be delivered months ago and they deserve to have their voices heard,” Senator Watt said.

“Having input from a wide-range of individuals, voluntary organisations and businesses who have been affected by the bushfires will be crucial to this inquiry’s success.

"Victims are telling us they are still waiting for their destroyed homes to be cleared, that money from Government grants and loans still isn’t flowing, and mental health support has dried up.

"We are very concerned by that. Already many individuals, business owners and community groups have put forward their views on issues that they would like considered by the inquiry and shared their stories about how they have been affected."

NSW inquiry

Meanwhile the NSW Government has commissioned an independent expert inquiry into the 2019-20 bushfire season to provide input to NSW ahead of the next bushfire season.

The inquiry welcomes submissions from bushfire-affected residents, emergency and support personnel, organisations and the general public. Everyone is encouraged to share their experience and tell their story to inform the Inquiry’s work.

The inquiry will also be travelling to bushfire affected communities to meet with and hear directly from people who have been impacted. The schedule for community visits will be posted to this site as soon as it is confirmed.

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