Royal Commission publishes report

The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements has published its report.

The report makes 80 recommendations to improve Australia’s national natural disaster arrangements and make our nation safer.

Commission Chair, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin AC (Retd) said there was an important role for all levels of government in relation to managing natural disasters.

“While state and territory governments have primary responsibility, and accountability, for emergency management, we have concluded that Australia needs a national approach to natural disasters. This calls for the Australian Government to play a greater role than it currently does.

“Effective national coordination will be a critical capability in managing natural disasters on a national scale or with national consequences. Arrangements need to be clear, robust and accountable.

Over 35 days of hearings, the Chair and fellow Commissioners, Dr Annabelle Bennett AC SC and Professor Andrew Macintosh, heard from more than 270 witnesses, including:

  • individuals directly affected by natural disasters
  • current and former representatives of state and territory fire and emergency management agencies
  • experts in a broad range of fields – for example, climate science, fire prediction, and the health impacts of bushfire smoke
  • representatives of charities, industry peak bodies, and consumer groups, and
  • senior officials from the Australian, state, territory and local governments.

“We have taken a principled approach that entrusts the implementation of our recommendations to the respective stakeholders. This approach ensures those who are best placed to effect improvements can do so.

“There are lessons for all of us arising from our inquiry. Governments, essential services providers, insurers, charities, communities and individuals should consider what steps they must take across all phases of natural disasters to improve national natural disaster arrangements.

“Progress on implementing our recommendations should be monitored, transparent and communicated nationally. Australian, state and territory governments need to commit to action and cooperate, and hold each other to account.”

The report is published on the Royal Commission’s website.

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