Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Black Saturday report

The Royal Commission into the 2009 Victorian bushfires has now handed down its final report. Read it here. I think you would have to be a very unusual person to be a Commissioner, to sit through the most awful evidence imaginable and still turn your mind to making things better.

I hope these recommendations don't get buried and forgotten. I thought people could never forget Ash Wednesday's impact. I remember driving past the nightmare wreckage of Lorne and Anglesea - my grandparents' caravan was burnt out at Anglesea - and some weeks later going to a party in Bendigo with a friend, how we stopped chattering when we passed the first burnt-out chimney. There were no fit words.

We had a Royal Commission into Black Friday too; yet the same things happen over and again. Heroes like Mr Sigmund do emerge but over and over again the transcripts show rules becoming more important than their purpose. I have little faith that even with an election imminent the State Government will do anything except produce more wretched spin. Can you imagine a mum scrambling frantic kids into a car ahead of a firestorm sayng "now come on, we have to get to the Neighbourhood Safer Place!" Apparently there is no scope to nominate an area that's better than nowehere-at-all-to-run, so some towns don't even have a NSP. Places that saved lives aren't good enough.

Rest in peace and may we finally learn some lessons.

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