The Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee's key focus during the second phase of its inquiry, and in this final report, is the impact of the 2019-20 bushfires on human health and welfare, and the recovery process for those who lived through the fires and are attempting to rebuild their lives in impacted regions and communities.
The report examines the progress of recovery from the point of view of these people and documents the issues raised during the inquiry. The report also examines the positive, and the less helpful, aspects of the assistance provided and the appropriateness of recovery programs. It also summarises stakeholders’ suggestions in relation to consultation with communities, systems to increase efficiencies, and ways to ensure more coordinated, equitable and efficient recovery processes.
- Chapter 2 provides an overview of the issues raised, and the recommendations made by the committee in its interim report. It provides some background in relation to the Royal Commission (including its findings and recommendations) and summarises the Federal Government’s response to these inquiries and their recommendations. It also outlines other recent inquiries into the 2019-20 bushfire season.
- Chapter 3 examines the issue of aerial firefighting, including the Royal Commission’s recommendations in relation to a sovereign aerial firefighting fleet. The chapter also outlines the views of stakeholders’ – including federal, state and territory governments, industry and tourism bodies and community representatives.
- Chapter 4 provides an update on progress within communities and examines the status and level of recovery from the 2019-20 fires. It outlines Commonwealth, state and territory, community and individual approaches to recovery from the point of view of stakeholders, and examines what has worked, what has been less than effective and the lessons that have been learned. The chapter also identifies some of the gaps and shortfalls in the delivery of financial and logistical support.
- Taking the lessons learned and advice received from local communities, the fifth chapter examines what a future recovery model should look like, and how recovery efforts can be better co-ordinated and managed through a national governance framework and the recently established National Recovery and Resilience Agency.
- Chapter 6 outlines the impact fires are having on insurance – particularly in fire affected regions. The chapter examines the increased cost of insurance premiums, and the impact on communities, small business and tourism.
- Chapter 7 examines the issues of mitigation infrastructure, land use planning and hazard reduction regimes. The chapter outlines some of the existing hazard reduction practices and examines the efficacy of Indigenous burning practices. The chapter also examines the cost and assessment of mitigation infrastructure and building standards.