Bushfire management plan to safeguard South Australians complete

Thursday 29 July, 2021

South Australia’s inaugural State Bushfire Management Plan 2021-2025 (SBMP) – shaped by crucial and meaningful community input – is complete, cementing another step toward greater bushfire resilience and safety.

The SBMP has been prepared by the State Bushfire Coordination Committee (SBCC), with help from the community, in accordance with the requirements of the Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005 (‘the FES Act’).

The SBCC is made up of representatives of fire and land management, allied agencies and stakeholder organisations.

Emergency Services Minister Vincent Tarzia said the Marshall Liberal Government has committed almost $100 million in additional funding to protect South Australians from the threat of bushfires.

Minister Tarzia said the development of the SBMP was one of 15 recommendations made by former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty AO as part of the Independent Review into the tragic 2019/20 bushfire season.

“The SBMP provides a roadmap for delivery of the Keelty Review findings that are the responsibility of the State Bushfire Coordination Committee,” he said.

“The SBMP builds the foundation for a collaborative approach to bushfire management and will engage and build understanding of shared responsibility for bushfire management in the community.

“Protecting lives and property is a top priority for the Marshall Government. We will continue doing everything possible to strengthen South Australia’s bushfire resilience.”

Key actions over the four-year life of the SBMP include:

  • Developing the second generation of Bushfire Management Area Plans for South Australia supported by an online treatment reporting system as per the Keelty Review; and
  • Developing clear guidelines for fuel management and property preparation to assist local government and private landholders.

Minister for Environment and Water, David Speirs, said the Marshall Government has just completed a record year of prescribed burns.

“Fire hazard reduction makes bushfires easier to control which is why we have committed record funding to significantly increase the amount of prescribed burns we are doing, particularly in the Adelaide Hills and on Kangaroo Island,” Minister Speirs said.

“Our most recent prescribed burns season saw us complete a record 96 burns for the year across more than 6,200 hectares.”

The Marshall Government’s $97.5m response to the Keelty Review is providing additional support and resources for volunteers, including extra staff and equipment, better protection for critical assets, enhanced communications, state-of-the-art technology and improved mental health assistance for the Emergency Services Sector.

The finalised SBMP follows the completion of all 27 immediate action items from our Keelty Review response.

SBCC Acting Chair and CFS Acting Chief Officer, Georgie Cornish, said all landholders and community members had a part to play in managing bushfire risk.

“It’s only through collaboration and joint effort that we’ll be able to reduce the impact of large-scale bushfires in the future,” Ms Cornish said.

“We now have a clear roadmap for the way forward, and we’ll be commissioning high level research on behalf of the Committee to help identify major risks and identify the areas where we are most vulnerable as a state.

“The actions we take now can dramatically affect the impact of bushfires on individuals, businesses and communities when they occur.”

The Plan will help:

  • Identify major bushfire risks in South Australia with a focus on understanding those risks from at strategic level.
  • Establish principles to support appropriate levels of hazard reduction.
  • Support strategic coordination of bushfire management activities among fire and land managers and allied agencies.
  • Establish requirements for preparation and implementation of Bushfire Management Area Plans to detect landscape risk on a regional scale.