Bushfires royal commission granted another two months to file report

Bushfire royal commission chair Mark Binskin asked for the short extension.

Bushfire royal commission chair Mark Binskin asked for the short extension. Photo: AAP

The natural disasters royal commission has been given an extra two months to finish its work because of the impact of coronavirus restrictions.

The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements now has until October 28 to deliver its final report.

It will now present interim observations on August 31, so work can still be done in preparation for the next bushfire season.

Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud said commission chair Mark Binskin asked for the short extension.

“The royal commission chair has advised the government that the disruption caused by the pandemic placed unavoidable pressures on a number of stakeholders to provide information to the royal commission in a timely manner,” Mr Littleproud said.

The extension would also give the commission more time to consider the hundreds of thousands of pages of material it had received in submissions and responses to requests for information and its published papers.

Extreme weather events, such as the Cobargo bushfires, have pushed the resilience of our national infrastructure into public debate. Photo: AAP

The federal government on Thursday also announced $88.1 million in funding over 10 years to extend research into bushfires and natural hazards.

Mr Littleproud said the funding would build on the work of the current Bushfire and Natural Hazards Co-operative Research Centre while strengthening ties with the emergency management sector.

“The scale of the disaster season Australia experienced last summer was unprecedented, and the horrific Black Summer bushfire lingers in the national psyche,” Mr Littleproud said.

“The new centre will deliver world-leading, evidence-based research to support the needs of our emergency services and communities across Australia to reduce climate and disaster risks, and prepare for, respond to and recover from future natural disasters.”

The BNHCRC’s funding was set to end in June 2021 but it will now transition into a new national research centre for natural hazard resilience and disaster risk reduction.


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