The Association of Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades (AVBFB) has received a number of calls from volunteers and media regarding details of a Review into the Great Southern fires last week.

Our response has been consistent:

We support a review into every major incident as long as it is open, inclusive and undertaken with the genuine intent to understand what happened and how the same situation might be avoided in the future rather than it being designed for a political or punitive outcome. We also strongly encourage future reviews to be carried out by an agency or organisation that was not involved in the incident to avoid the potential for perceived conflicts.

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Indeed, the interest from our members and stakeholders has been so strong that we sent the letter below to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) tonight, based on the Minister’s public comments that the review would be undertaken by the Office of Bushfire Risk Management (OBRM), which is now part of the DFES Rural Fire Division.

As is says in the letter, we know it’s early and are not “pushing” in any way – we just want to be sure we didn’t miss an unknown deadline and be able share the details with members as soon as possible to allow maximum input from the busy Bush Fire Brigade Volunteers who were there.

The Team Leader
May 2018 Great Southern Fires Major Incident Review
Department of Fire and Emergency Services


To Whom It May Concern:

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The Association of Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades (AVBFB) appreciates that it might be some time before answers to the following questions become available but believed it prudent to write sooner rather than later and risk missing an important deadline.

To be clear, we assure you that we understand and accept that the review may justifiably take some time to begin and to date, have no concerns about its timing.

We believe there were more than 70 Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades from various parts of WA in attendance over the course of the incident and therefore urge the review process to be as open, accessible and inclusive as possible, culminating in the publication of the full report.

The AVBFB also strongly asserts that it is in everyone’s interest for the Terms of Reference to frame the Review in a way that encourages outcomes focussed on sharing knowledge and learning for the future rather than attributing fault.

With that in mind, the AVBFB humbly requests the following information as soon as possible so we can give our stakeholders ample time to participate:

  1. What are the terms of reference of the review?
  2. Who is undertaking the review?
  3. How can the AVBFB and its members make submissions to the review?
  4. Will the submissions and full report be made public?
  5. What are the Review’s key dates (opening/closing dates for submissions, expected completion date, publication date etc)?

Yours faithfully,

[AVBFB A/Executive Officer]

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