Proposed to be considered by the Royal Commission into how the Fed Gov reacts to disasters

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To Prime Minister Morrison  of and all the Honorable Members of the Australian Senate and State Governments.

How the Federal Government reacts to national disasters:

A. Admittedly if the show was on the other foot, any other Governments we have had in charge or any to come would of done no better, as the main issue we face is a lack of proper national disaster action procedures in place for something as big as the bushfires that have plagued the country since November 2019 and continue to burn. 

Issues I believe need addressing as a nation(during the upcoming Royal Commission):

1. There needs to be full transparency in communication between federal, state, local emergency agencies.

2. Relocatable accommodation on hand to give families long term residence whilst rebuilding, which could be made from shipping containers and placed on the persons property or other suitable area. Having it on the persons property will assist in the healing process as they will feel at home.

3. Main arterial roads need at least 100m cleared fire containment lines on both sides. For example the Princes Hwy, Lake Conjola Road, roads through areas like Termiel and Kings Hwy.

 4.The reinstatement of the hard wired national home telephone system, so every house can receive emergency updates and warnings especially when power and mobile phone communication is lost. This occurred in the current fires.

3.The use and implementation of the ADF within 12 to 24 hours of an national emergency so local emergency services can do their roles.

4. In times like we are going through, a harder stance needed to be put in place and blockades needed to of stopped all non residence to areas effected by fires, for their safety, the reduction of increased stress on emergency services trying to deal with holiday makers and not being able to concentrate their efforts on the tasks they should be doing. The reduction on resources in these areas who now struggle with food, clothes, petrol and medical services.

5. The protocols between the states and federal government are ridiculous. Federal government offers funding, all 7 states and territories have to agree because the deal is the states have to match funding. The Governer General has to approve any federal assistance, which first must be asked for by the states.. It's a load of bureaucratic red tape.

So, let's centralise the bushfire brigades. Make it a federal agency instead. Fires don't care about state boundaries. Non partisan, with the head in charge of all responses to fire incidents. I think the NSW boss would fit the role excellently. That would remove the need for Governer Generals, PMs, or State Premiers to be involved.(All essential infrastructure, power, water, sewage, roads,e services including hospitals need to also be nationally run and rules and policies the same around the nation.) We are one nation. We already do this with our Border Control Forces do it is achievable.

6. Buy more water helicopters like Elvis, instead of relying on renting from the USA. We know this won't be the last bushfires we see so be prepared 100%, also allow yearly back burning of all state forests guided by and including our indigenous peoples, which will prevent catastrophic loss of native animals as what happened in the current fires. Utilise RFS services to back barn domestic properties upon request by the land owners or by a five yearly no exclusion maintenance of fire prone zones.

7. All RFS and other volunteer based emergency services to be compensated for wages lost and for them to be covered by a death and temporary/permanent disability insurance paid by the government.

8. A relief fund to cover loss of wages for small businesses lost or affected by the fires, to assist them whilst rebuilding or until regular trading occurs after the disaster has passed. Many small businesses can't sustain long periods without trade and owners and employees can't survive without an income as many are low income earners or get by week by week. As you will find in these fires, many of the the affected were in small coastal or rural areas, whose peak season for trade is December to end of January. Businesses in Mogo will take at least 12months with the reality of an even longer period until they rebuild. The town lost all their shops which employs locals and relies heavily on tourist trade. 

All this and more needs to be the focus on discussions that need to be had immediately once we get through the smoke.

B. Regarding our proposed Drought Relief Scheme

First and foremost, STOP selling our water resources to overseas companies.

Milton Ulladulla on the South Coast of  NSW. We are and have been a rural farming area since the towns were founded. Along with our neighboring south coast farming districts and those of the rest of Australia, we havet signed the attached petition, which was taken online (https://www.change.org/p/to-theaustralian-state-federal-governments-senate-proposal-for-infrastructure-implementation-forpermanent-drought-relief-water-supplies

We are wanting action taken to protect our farmers long-term.

It has gone beyond the time for drought relief and that of band-aid solutions of low interest loans and short term cash relief, but time for future preventative measures to be put into action. Farming is the backbone of any nation, without it, everyone is affected. It should neverg to the state at which it is now. Farmers should not be put through the stress they are under, financially and mentally.

Billions in financial relief has been given to those affected by drought, since 1971 and scope in 1989, 1992, 1997, (http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farmfood/drought/drought-policy/history The Drought Policy and Programs were to:

encourage primary producers and other sections of rural Australia to adopt self-reliant approaches to managing for climate variability and facilitate the maintenance and protection of Australia’s agricultural and environmental resources base during periods of climatic stress facilitate the early recovery of agricultural and rural industries, consistent with long-term sustainable levels.

Unfortunately these measures have not worked, as all have seen time and time again and really were just a push back onto those suffering from drought to find a solution. The problem isn't theirs to burden, it is Australia's burden.

Going forward we need to see new infrastructure built to assist farmers during drought times.

 

We propose that all state governments and our federal government, work together to bring this into place.The following is suggested, but in no means is being stated as the solution. The solution will need multiple types of infrastructure working together for one solution.

Proposed: only to be used in times of drought only.

1 . Pipelines to be run from our major dams, and or new dams, that will allow direct supply to farms, or, access to filling stations which would be used by farmers using a community owned water truck which they have access to use and would be driven by themselves.

2 . We have a desalination plant that has plenty of capacity to provide extra water to supply these drought relief water supplies when needed.

3 . New infrastructure built to reuse our sewage and runoff water to feed the new dams for drought use. Water for cattle drinking and watering feed crop and human food crops.

4. Infrastructure to move flood waters in waterways and areas of regular flooding into the drought water storage systems.

5. In return, farmers will allocate acres of their land which they will indefinitely loan for solar, hydro and wind power production technology to be installed, by the Drought Relief Scheme, to feed power to any of the infrastructure, to have it running at cost neutral. As well as additional power to feed back into the grid as green energy which will see the drought relief scheme being paid for by any such power, which will go to pay for the infrastructure and ongoing maintenance and expansion costs.

6. This is a extremely large infrastructure project that will need many workers of differents trades. We also propose that this is a perfect time for the government of Australia tom use of this opportunity, to wind back the use of Greenhouse producing electricity powerstations and use the labor force that comes out of this closure, to be used and retrained if required, in the construction and maintenance of that outlined in (see.4).

The cost to farmers will be nil for construction of this infrastructure and for usage of the water(only during drought with usage monitored). All costs to be covered by the production of electricity and its resale (see.4).

The state and federal governments need to pay for the infrastructure up front (and payed see .4). The up front cost for the infrastructure could be payed by all Australians by a small increase in tax, say a once off, 1% drought relief tax, as a loan only, which will be payed back via tax break, claimed on a future tax return as a tax deduction or as shares of a public owned company with options to buy more shares.

Australians will save more than the 1% increase with cheaper cost to the consumer of farming produce during drought times, as there won't be major price fluctuations due to affects of drought as farmers yields will be higher than that of times before the Drought Relief Scheme that has been proposed.

It is a win win solution for farmers, and all Australians. As mentioned, in no way are we proposing this as the total solution. But the suggested measures, if looked at, will prevent future costs on farmers and the Australian community from drought and saving lives. Australia will always be in drought and need Governments to work together to instigate solutions, as we have suggested above, now, not later. We can show the world what can be done when you look at a problem from outside the box.

Please do right for Australia.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

Kevin Bartolo

 

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