5 February 2021

Joint Statement with Senator Murray Watt, Shadow Minister for Disaster and Emergency Management

Today marks 100 days since the Bushfire Royal Commission handed down its recommendations, and unfortunately bushfire-affected communities are still waiting for a plan from the Federal Government.

The 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires killed at least 33 people and destroyed more than 3,000 homes and three billion animals. That’s why in October 2020 the Royal Commissioners made 80 recommendations to ensure Australia was better equipped to respond to natural disasters.

Yet three months later disaster-prone regions are still waiting on the Morrison Government to outline a full timeline for changes.

To date, the Government has not even accepted all of the recommendations.

As a matter of urgency the Morrison Government must accept responsibility for developing and leading a sovereign aerial firefighting fleet, which will ensure Australia has access to enough valuable firefighting aircraft when fires burn across multiple areas.

The ongoing bushfire situation in Western Australia is a clear reminder of what is at stake.

Scott Morrison and his Government cannot afford to continue to sit on their hands and do nothing, like they did in the lead up to the Black Summer bushfires.

This week’s announcement of an achievements tracker is not enough to forge real change in bushfire-affected regions.

These Royal Commission recommendations cannot be allowed to become yet another bushfire report gathering dust in an office drawer.

We must strive to do better.

Bushfire survivors need, and deserve, a clear plan from the Federal Government as to how it will tackle natural disasters in the future.