The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements will commence hearings in Canberra on Monday 25 May 2020, beginning with a focus on the changing global climate and natural disaster risk.
In the morning, Commissioners Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin AC (Retd), Dr Annabelle Bennett AC, SC and Professor Andrew Macintosh will receive presentations from scientists of the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, and Geoscience Australia in relation to climate trends and key drivers in respect of natural hazards such as bushfires, tropical cyclones, floods, hailstorms, tsunamis and earthquakes.
In the afternoon, the Commissioners will hear from a panel of witnesses from the Actuaries Institute (publisher of the Climate Index), catastrophe insurer Insurance Australia Group and natural hazards research centre Risk Frontiers in relation to extreme weather events and natural disaster risk.
Commissioners will be assisted by Senior Counsel Assisting Dominique Hogan-Doran SC and Andrew Tokley QC; Junior Counsel Assisting Jesmini Ambikapathy, Trent Glover, Kess Dovey, and Anna Spies; and Solicitors Assisting from the law firm King & Wood Mallesons.
The Commissioners will also hear the first of many direct accounts of the devastating 2019-20 bushfire season.
Professor Sue Townsend is a Wiradjuri woman who lost her home in the fires around Tumbarumba. Professor Townsend’s examination by Junior Counsel Assisting Kess Dovey was pre-recorded on country, and will be played during the course of the day’s hearing.
The full witness list for day one is available on the Commission’s website.