Senate debates

Wednesday, 3 February 2016


Western Australia: Bushfires

3:44 pm

Photo of Dio WangDio Wang (WA, Palmer United Party) Share this | Hansard source

I wish to inform the chamber that Senator Back will also sponsor the motion. I, and also on behalf of Senators Cash, Bullock, Sterle, Siewert, Lines, Ludlam, Cormann, Smith and Back, move:

That the Senate—

(a) acknowledges the devastating impact of the bushfires in Yarloop, Waroona, Wagerup and surrounding communities in Western Australia from 6 January 2016, which sadly:

(i) claimed the lives of Mr Les Taylor and Mr Malcolm Taylor,

(ii) caused injury to a number of community members, volunteers, emergency workers and firefighters,

(iii) damaged more than 70 000 hectares of property,

(iv) destroyed 180 buildings and infrastructure in totality, of which 162 were family homes, and

(v) left many residents without essential services, including water and electricity, for days;

(b) expresses sincere condolences to:

(i) the family and friends of Mr Taylor and Mr Taylor for their loss, and

(ii) members of the Yarloop, Waroona, Wagerup and surrounding communities for the losses they have suffered as a result of the disaster;

(c) extends sincere gratitude to:

(i) all the firefighters and emergency services workers who braved the perilous conditions to save lives and property, and

(ii) the volunteers and community members who risked their lives in an attempt to lessen the effects of the disaster and offered support throughout the disaster, including those responsible for operating evacuation centres;

(d) notes that the Insurance Council of Australia labelled the bushfire as a 'catastrophe' resulting in insured losses of more than $57 million and that not all losses suffered will be insured;

(e) commends the establishment of an independent inquiry to examine a number of important factors, including but not limited to:

(i) the effectiveness of pre-incident bushfire prevention and mitigation activities,

(ii) the effectiveness of emergency management plans and procedures,

(iii) protection of essential services infrastructure and access to essential services (power, transport, water and communications) by emergency services organisations and the community,

(iv) the effectiveness of public messaging, including the adequacy and timeliness of emergency warnings issued to residents and visitors, and

(v) the lessons learned from prior bushfire emergency situations in Western Australia; and

(f) calls on the Western Australian Government to undertake an extensive consultation process with members of the Yarloop, Waroona, Wagerup and surrounding communities to determine the best course of action in respect of rebuilding each respective township.

Question agreed to.


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