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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 March 2021) . . Page.. 663 ..

water catchments. The government provided $1.36 million to support recovery actions in the park over 2020-21. The funding has been used to reinstate and improve popular walking trails and address erosion and sedimentation in key areas.

Within the first six months following the fire, the government undertook a number of immediate actions to address and mitigate extreme risks to public safety, the environment and the park’s cultural values. In July, the government released the rapid response progress update, which contains further information about the government’s actions to date.

Damage to infrastructure and the environment has resulted in safety issues and led to the ongoing closure of large areas of the park. Some of these areas were reopened to the public as remedial works to walking trails, car parks and other higher-use public areas were completed.

The Orroral Valley recorded over 200 millimetres of rainfall spread over 36 hours in the recent March heavy rain event that brought widespread flooding to New South Wales. There has been some new damage to management trails, which is still being assessed by rangers. Most significantly, floodwaters undermined a concrete crossing over the Gudgenby River which had only recently been repaired after the last flood event in February 2020. Work is now focused on the repair of two key public roads that provide access to popular campgrounds and walking trails, with a view to reopening the remainder of the park to the public in the coming months, well ahead of schedule.

Notwithstanding the March 2021 flooding, rangers are continuing to work towards the near full reopening of Namadgi National Park. Public area access will need to be carefully managed, as the landscape will be in recovery mode for some years to come.

One year on, the government has embraced the lessons learned from the previous season by focusing on enhancing its capability, collective training, preparedness, personnel management, planning, and incident management strategies. Proactive steps have been taken to make improvements such as the recruitment of specialist roles in the ACT Rural Fire Service, including fire behaviour analysts, strategic planning, air operations and fire tower operators, all of which will help fatigue management and boost the existing specialist skills within the ESA.

Following the destructive storm, the ACT government has invested in additional volunteers, vehicles and training to further enhance the response and capability for future storm events. Investments have been made to provide further training for our volunteer members and provide several new road assets to strengthen emergency planning, preparation and response during bushfires and floods.

While government directorates and agencies are equipped and ready, bushfires and grassfires can strike at any time, and it is vitally important for the ACT community to be prepared. Just as the government is updating its preparedness for future fire seasons, so, too, must the community. I urge people in the community to update their survival plan and have a conversation with their family about what they will do during

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