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Terms of Reference

The inquiry will report on the following matters:

  1. The immediate causes and circumstances of the bushfires which were active in Tasmania on the 4 January 2013, with particular focus on the three bushfires that caused the most significant property loss; the “Forcett Fire”, “Lake Repulse Fire” and the “Bicheno Fire”.
  2. All aspects of the emergency response on the 4 January 2013, particularly measures taken to control the spread of the three main fires and to protect life, private and public property and essential infrastructure.
  3. The adequacy of the transition from response to recovery in the week following the 4 January 2013.
  4. The preparation and planning by all levels of government, agencies and the emergency services for the fire season of 2012/13 in general and the catastrophic fire danger weather event on 4 January 2013 in particular.
  5. The effectiveness of the strategies and plans related to managing bushfire risk in Tasmania that were in place prior to the bushfires burning on 4 January 2013.
  6. The use and efficacy of community alerts, warnings and information arrangements in general and in particular the use and efficacy of various forms of social media by
    1. authorities in responding to bushfires; and
    2. private citizens, during bushfires; and
    3. the adequacy of existing arrangements for dealing with that use in a constructive and safe manner.
  7. Any other matters relevant to the terms or reference

AND To make recommendations arising out of this inquiry about improvements to ensure arrangements are established to adequately protect the community from the incidence and effect of bushfire.

In undertaking this review, appropriate regard will be had to ensuring all interested parties have an opportunity to make submissions in relation to the matters set out above. All submissions are to be taken into account in making any recommendations.

The Inquiry will also consider the research and reports already initiated by the Tasmanian Fire Service (from the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre and the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council) and take them into account in making any recommendations.

The focus of this Inquiry is on the strategic, systemic and organisational level. It is not intended to, nor should it focus on individual fault finding. In the event information of significant individual failure or of alleged criminal conduct comes to the attention of this inquiry, that information is to be referred to the appropriate authority, on a confidential basis.

The Inquiry is to report by 30 September 2013.