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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 March 2021) . . Page.. 662 ..

These reviews have reaffirmed the importance of a process of continuous improvement to protect the ACT from all hazards, including fire and storm. The reviews and inquiries addressed several areas, including, but not limited to, response, capability, preparedness and planning, incident management, and personnel. While many of the recommendations from these reviews could be addressed immediately, others require long-term planning and consultation with stakeholders or may be impacted by the outcomes of other reviews.

The ACT government has welcomed the recommendations of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements. The ACT has wasted no time in progressing the implementation of recommendations, many of which align with work already underway to address the learnings from the 2019-20 bushfire season. The recently established National Emergency Management Ministers Meeting, NEMMM, will initially be responsible for driving and coordinating the implementation of the royal commission recommendations. The ACT government is continuing to work with volunteers, staff and stakeholders to implement learnings from the reviews and to improve our response and preparedness into the future.

I appreciate that this was a very distressing period for our region, and people are understandably interested in how the Orroral Valley fire started. I would like to reassure the community that our emergency services did all that they could to reduce the spread of the fire. The ACT ESA quickly spotted the fire and identified its location using fire towers and an aerial flyover. They were able to rapidly deploy appropriate ground and air responses to the fire ground. I trust that Defence has learned from this incident and examined its procedures. The ACT government has undertaken an extensive lessons-learned program with the ADF, including examining our working relationship and how aerial assets are used. The ESA has recently corresponded with the Deputy Chief of Army to facilitate joint training programs, including incident management training and exercise planning.

Following the Orroral Valley bushfire, the government was able to provide immediate relief to landowners after the fire by funding emergency fodder for livestock and resourcing to replace boundary fences. The ACT government funded post-fire work on rural leases and rural lease boundaries, including the removal and disposal of 21 kilometres of damaged rural fencing; the erection of 21 kilometres of new fencing; the repair of eight floodgates; access trail repairs totalling 14 kilometres; and the clearing of eight kilometres of dangerous trees.

In addition to support directly offered by the ACT government, assistance was requested from the commonwealth for fire-affected landholders, which resulted in a $10,000 small business grant, in line with other jurisdictions, being made available for fire-affected primary producers and small businesses. The ACT government is proactively engaging with rural landholders to provide support and assist with recovery efforts.

The Orroral Valley bushfire burnt through 88,000 hectares, including approximately 80 per cent of the Namadgi National Park. An early assessment of the impacts of the fire indicated significant damage to the park’s physical assets, wildlife, habitat and

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