DFES incident reports too little too late

Shadow Emergency Services Minister Martin Aldridge has criticised the McGowan Labor Government for releasing grossly inadequate reports on significant natural disasters, years after they have occurred.

“This week it was discovered a long-awaited report into Tropical Cyclone Seroja and last season’s bushfires appeared on the DFES website without the knowledge of key stakeholders,” Mr Aldridge said.

“The McGowan Labor Government has become so arrogant that any criticism or review of its performance should be buried and squashed.

“This does a gross disservice to community safety and especially those who were personally impacted by the events who are still waiting for answers and support years on.”

Mr Aldridge said the two reports identify eleven lessons for improvement however the reports have significant shortcomings.

“The so-called ‘Community Reports’ have very little to no community involvement in their production. They are essentially agency driven and agency produced,” he said.

“The deployment of personnel who were not suitably qualified or trained resulting in them being trained ‘on the job’ is alarming and demonstrates a lack of organisational capability particularly in the management of natural hazards.

“Information sharing, communication and respect for local knowledge again have all been highlighted as areas for improvement.

“Given these reports are so delayed, what should be now known and stated by government is what they have done to improve as we face a fire and cyclone season with above-average potential.”

Member for North West Central, Merome Beard has echoed her disappointment in the report and its failure to reflect on the lack of recovery two years on from Seroja.

“With less than ten per cent of a record recovery funding package hitting the ground, the reports’ failure to reflect on this and recommend immediate change is an indictment on government,” Ms Beard said.

“Some of my constituents are facing the thought of a third winter without a sealed roof and for many the despair has become too much.

Member for Moore Shane Love said the report missed key opportunities to make the Mid West more resilient to natural disasters by considering the location of cyclone-rated evacuation centres and building standards.

“By comparison the Liberal-National Government commissioned three independent special inquiries which are akin to a Royal Commission into natural disasters between 2008 and 2017. To date the McGowan Government has not commenced one.”