Friday 21 October 2022

New national bushfire framework to save Australian lives, land and property

A landmark new body of work has been released to assist governments and private organisations to tackle Australia’s growing bushfire problem and save lives, land and property.

Turning the Goals of the National Bushfire Management Policy Statement into Objectives and Key Performance Indicators aims to guide improvements in bushfire management and provide consistent reporting nationally on achievements.

The work has been prepared by the Forest Fire Management Committee of Forestry Australia and the Forest Fire Management Group (FFMG). FFMG reports to the Forestry and Forest Products Committee which advises Ministers responsible for forest matters.

The framework complements The National Bushfire Management Policy Statement agreed to by the Premiers and Chief Ministers of all States and Territories, and the Prime Minister, in 2014 with the inclusion of measurable objectives.

Launching the report today at Forestry Australia’s National Symposium, Forestry Australia President Bob Gordon said it was vital that all states and territories worked together to tackle the nation’s growing fire challenges in a co-ordinated and accountable manner.

“It’s clear that Australia has a wicked bushfire problem, resulting in an increasingly devastating loss of life, land and property every year we don’t take action to correct it,” Mr Gordon said.

“It’s also clear that bushfires know no boundaries, and in order to rein them in as a nation, we need a strong national approach with all states and territories pulling in the same direction.

“We have developed this framework to promote greater co-ordination, collaboration, and accountability across state and federal governments, and are calling for buy-in at all levels.

“The ultimate outcome is that Australian lives will be saved from bushfires, Australia’s environment will be better protected with enhanced ecosystem biodiversity, conservation and maintenance of soils and water catchments in a healthy state, and Australia shall be able to better address climate change impacts and reduce carbon emissions.”

The National Bushfire Management Policy Statement provides an agreed view for good fire management practice across Australia’s forests and rangelands. It identifies a set of principles to guide fire management and lists 14 specific goals to deliver on those principles.

Fire ecologist Dr Kevin Tolhurst AM, from the University of Melbourne, who led the development of the new framework within Forestry Australia’s Forest Fire Management Committee, said the introduction of measurable outcomes would provide a means to systematically analyse Australia’s fire management progress towards meeting the documented national goals.

“In response to the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission and various other inquiries, fire managers from government agencies in all states and territories prepared a National Bushfire Management Policy Statement for Forests and Rangelands,” Dr Tolhurst said.

“This policy statement was signed off by all COAG (Council of Australian Governments) members by early 2012 and published in 2014. As yet, there has been little action on implementing this policy.

“Having measurable outcomes is key for forest land managers because without measurable outcomes, it will be impossible to systematically improve fire management performance and knowledge as required by the process of adaptive management.

“Without measurable outcomes, it will also be difficult to attract the level of funding, resources and public support required to work towards the nationally agreed shared vision for forest fire management.”

To download a PDF copy of Turning the Goals of the National Bushfire Management Policy Statement into Objectives and Key Performance Indicators click HERE.

Media contact:
David Abbott
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0400 446 736