Bushfire commission report progress

AN independent audit outlining progress of the implementation of recommendations in the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission was tabled in State Parliament recently.

The Bushfire Royal Commission Implementation Monitor’s final report showed 35 recommendations of 67 had been completed.

“Some of the biggest achievements to date include the establishment of the Bushfire Buy-Back Scheme and the formation of a $750 million package over 10 years to reduce the risks of electricity assets,” Deputy Premier and Bushfire Response Minister Peter Ryan said in a statement.

However, the State Opposition said it was unacceptable a number of recommendations had not been implemented on time, including the target of planned burns.

Meanwhile, Bushfire Royal Commission Implementation Monitor Neil Comrie reportedly said the annual five per cent public land burns target should be reconsidered, and that the burning program should focus on protecting high-risk areas and public safety.

The five per cent burn target, which aims for 390,000 hectares of public land to be burnt annually, was a recommendation of the royal commission.

The role of the independent monitor has been extended by the State Government for a further two years until 30 September 2014.

The report is available on the Implementation Monitor’s website at www.bushfiresmonitor.vic.gov.au