As at 11:00am Thursday 2 January 2020, 13+ people have died, more are missing. 6 million+ hectares burnt, 1500+ houses destroyed. Millions of animals dead. Evacuation in progress of 4,000+ people from Mallacoota and more from the NSW south coast. Many fires have been lit by recent dry lightning strikes.
Bushfires have crossed state borders of NSW, VIC and ACT. Mega fires in eastern Victoria and south NSW could join up. National coordination is clearly required.
Federal assets - army, navy, leased firefighting aircraft and personnel have now been deployed in support roles. Why are there different levels of support between NSW and VIC?
Emergency Management Australia (now under Home Affairs) has responsibility for coordinating and supporting national response to emergencies. Peter Dutton and David Littleproud are responsible ministers.
Littleproud said on 2 Jan that "APAC is coordinating the response" - but it is a peak body for collaboration, not coordination.
If a national emergency was declared, a national coordination centre (under EMA) could be spun up and would be directly responsibility to the Morrison government (Littleproud perhaps).
So far Scott Morrison, Michael McCormack, Peter Dutton and David Littleproud have NOT declared a national emergency.
Catastrophic bushfires and property losses have occurred in recently WA, SA, VIC, NSW, QLD and ACT. Many lives have been lost in SA, VIC and NSW.
This is gross dereliction of duty in the face of clear and present danger.
- NSW - 15 deaths, 1300 homes lost
- SA - 2 deaths, 90 homes lost
- VIC - 1 death, 18 missing, 81 homes lost
If there is no actual mechanism to declare a national emergency (State of Emergency can be declared only by individual states) here is a solution:
1. Convene meeting of State Emergency Coordinators & premiers
2. Agree to declare national emergency
3. Determine which federal resources are required in states/territories
4. EMA establish national emergency coordination centre
5. Legislate to provide for this in the future.
Video: Bushfire emergency has claimed 1000 homes and razed an area the size of Belgium, ABC 7.30
- Incidents and Warnings - VicEmergency
- MyFireWatch - Bushfire map information Australia
- Fires Near Me - NSW RFS
- What is Emergency Alert? - Emergency Alert. Be Warned. Be Informed.
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