Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Why am I not surprised by a report of another dangerous blunder by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison & Co?


The Age, 22 January 2021:


Some of the masks distributed to hospitals and aged care homes at the height of the pandemic as part of the federal government's national medical stockpile have been judged defective by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.


Laboratory testing by Australia’s medical regulator identified a range of issues with some disposable surgical masks branded Softmed and imported by M House.


The issues include quality control, lack of proper labelling, and inconsistent fluid resistance between batches. Fluid resistance is vital for medical masks, as fluid droplets generated by coughing and sneezing have been found to spread COVID-19.


A Kirby Institute study, published in November, estimated Australian healthcare workers were nearly three times more likely to become infected with coronavirus than other Australians. More than 3560 healthcare workers have been infected with COVID-19 in Victoria. Nearly three-quarters of them caught the virus at work.


At the peak of the state's second wave of infections in early August, so many staff were off sick or isolating from the Royal Melbourne Hospital that the facility was forced to temporarily close four of its wards…...


"Based on the results of internal and external accredited laboratory testing, M House is very confident that its products supplied during the height of the pandemic do not pose a risk to frontline workers but in fact protect them," the spokeswoman said.


M House genuinely believes that, at best, the TGA has conducted itself incompetently in relation to the testing of the device and, at worst, has acted and continues to act in bad faith towards M House, in respect of which M House has reserved its rights and, if necessary, will prosecute them to the full extent necessary, including to obtain the removal of the alert notice which it genuinely believes is unjustified.”


The TGA issued a product defect alert for the disposable surgical masks in November and the Health Department has since written to aged care homes, healthcare networks, the National Disability Insurance Scheme and state and territory health authorities, warning about the defective batches.


The TGA has been running its own lab tests on masks, with priority given to the millions of masks on Australia’s national medical stockpile. Of the first 25 results released, seven had problems identified.


A spokeswoman for the TGA said: "A strong precautionary approach was taken by issuing a Product Defect Alert notice on 14 November 2020 for the relevant Softmed branded surgical masks, sponsored by M House, to ensure customers who purchase or are supplied with these masks safeguard healthcare workers if the masks are being used in high-risk settings,"


Andrew Hewat, Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association assistant secretary, said: “Any concerns in terms of the level of safety, the standards that are being applied, raises concerns for our members…..[my yellow highlighting]


Monday, 11 January 2021

COVID-19 State Of Play 2021: about the Australian Government national vaccination program......


On 7 January 2021 Australian Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison fronted a press conference at which he stated of the proposed national vaccination program; “It's a federal vaccination policy”.


Currently this federal policy commences with only one vaccine agreement being implemented – the two-dose Astra Zeneca vaccine (doses given 28 days apart) which is considered to have an efficacy rate of at least 62 per cent in those fully vaccinated.


This vaccine choice by federal government appears to be predicated on potential product loss and lower storage costs, as the Astra Zeneca vaccine vials can be stored in fridges rather than requiring very low temperature medical freezers.


The Australian Government’s agreement with Astra Zeneca is that this pharmaceutical company will deliver 3.8 million doses in early 2021, with another 50 million doses to be manufactured under licence in Australia by CSL Behring.


Using the stated dosing regime the initial doses sent to Australia would only fully vaccinate est. 1.9 million people or would only partially vaccinate 3.8 million people.


It is to be hoped that before mid-February CSL Behring will have managed to manufacture and stockpile at least another 4.2 million doses if Morrison's stated population target is to be met.


At that 7 January press conference Morrison went on to say that he expected that the nation rollout will commence with vaccinations of high priority groups in mid to late February 2021.


He is hoping to start the vaccination with around 80,000 vaccinations a week and, to build up those numbers over the next 4 to 6 weeks.


Further, Morrison expressed a hope that that by the end of March 4 million people will have received the vaccine.


If vaccinations commenced at the earliest date Morrison has indicated then it would be on 14 February 2021 with 80,000 having received a first dose injection by 21 February.


To reach the target of 4 million people having received an injection by 31 March 2021, the rollout would have to proceed from 22 February onwards at a rate of est. 95,609 people a day.


Being generous and allowing that though he said March he may have meant mid-April, the amended rate of vaccination would be lowered to est. 66,440 people per day.


To complete full vaccination of 4 million people, the second-dose round would have to commence on or about 14 March 2021 which would raise the number of people receiving injections by the end of March (or alternatively by mid-April) to an impossibly large number.


This appears to be an incredibly optimistic timetable and the logistics daunting. Hospital clinics and GP practices would likely be overwhelmed.


I sincerely hope I am wrong and the states and territories manage to pull a few medical rabbits out of their public health hats, because I suspect on past behaviour Scott Morrison will decide to holiday or be otherwise unavailable for much of the initial 4-6 week vaccine rollout period.


Friday, 1 January 2021

NSW COVID-19 State of Play, 11am 1 January 2021


At 8pm on 31 December 2020 confirmed new COVID-19 cases in New South Wales stood at 3 locally acquired cases in Western Sydney (all males) and 2 cases acquired overseas.


The sources of 2 of these locally acquired cases are not yet known and they join 11 other cases whose sources are still unknown.


To date the Avalon cluster now numbers 146 infected people, the Croydon cluster 9 infected people including 3 children and what is now being called the Wollongong cluster has not been given a defined population - but is possibly as small as two.


Genome testing reveals that the Croydon & Wollongong clusters are connected to the Avalon cluster.


After16 days the NSW Dept. of Health and the Berejiklian Government allegedly have no idea who "Patient Zero" is for the Avalon cluster or how this person became infected.


Active COVID-19 infections have grown to 173 cases and 3 of these people have been admitted to hospital as of 31 December. 


In the last 7 days up until 8pm on 31 December there were a total of 90 new COVID-19 cases - 50 per cent of which were locally acquired infections.


Sadly, the state government is still refusing to mandate mask wearing outside the home in Northern Beaches, Greater Sydney or Wollongong.


Therefore, expect a long, drawn out battle to keep the infection rate below 1 per cent.


Australia Covid-19 State of Play, 11 am 1 January 2021

https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-current-situation-and-case-numbers



Right up to the last days of 2020 there were people who insisted on being COVIDIOTS


Qld Health


Well New South Wales COVID-19 cases were beginning to climb again by 31 December 2020 with 17 confirmed cases overnight - 51 new locally transmitted cases confirmed over the last 7 days of the year were linked to known infection clusters, another 6 cases in that period were still of unknown origin and 41 cases were of overseas origin. 


Known infected NSW residents have travelled as far north as South-East Queensland and those from designated hotspots have reached as far south as East Gippsland in Victoria. The NSW Avalon infection cluster total has now reached 144 infected people and the Berejiklian Coalition Government still insists that after 15 days its source is still unknown.


With instances of people acting irresponsibly also growing, this 17 December 2020 quote by well-known NSW resident, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, got old very quickly; “New South Wales is the gold standard. I don’t spend too much time worrying about New South Wales, because they’ve demonstrated why I don’t have to” .


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NSW Police, News, 28 December 2020:

Police have issued nine Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) and will issue another three following a wedding reception that breached a Public Health Order in Sydney yesterday.


Officers from Sydney City Police Area Command were called to a venue on Pirrama Road, Pyrmont, about 5pm (Sunday 27 December 2020), after receiving information from Crime Stoppers in relation to possible breaches of a Public Health Order.


After speaking with staff and attendees, police recorded contact details for more than a dozen guests, who are Northern Beaches residents.


Following further inquiries and consultation with NSW Health, $1000 PINs for not comply with noticed direction s7/8/9-COVID-19 have now been issued to the following people;


- a man and woman, both aged 43, from Allambie Heights


- a 33-year-old woman from Narraweena


- a 27-year-old man from Frenches Forest, and


- three women – aged 19, 22 and 28 – and two men – aged 23 and 63 – all from Beacon Hill.


A further three PINs are expected to be issued to a 34-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman, both from Frenchs Forest, and a 26-year-old man from Beacon Hill.


Inquiries are continuing.


Police continue to appeal to the community to report suspected breaches of any ministerial direction or behaviour which may impact on the health and safety of the community.


Anyone with information regarding individuals or businesses in contravention of COVID-19-related ministerial directions is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.


Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.


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28 December 2020


Police have issued 15 Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) since Christmas Eve, including to 11 people at a house party at North Bondi on Saturday that breached the Public Health Order.

Just before 11pm (Saturday 26 December 2020), officers from Eastern Suburbs Police Area Command attended a home on Blair Street after receiving multiple noise complaints.

Police located at least 40 people at the party, with most running from the home when officers arrived.

Officers spoke with 11 people, including two residents and nine visitors, who remained at the property.

Two women – aged 24 and 26 – and nine men – aged 26, 28, 30, 31, 32, 34, and three aged 24 – were subsequently issued $1000 PINs for not comply with noticed direction s7/8/9-COVID-19.

The residents were also issued a 28-day noise abatement direction, while the visitors were directed to leave the area.

Inquiries are continuing to identify other partygoers who were in attendance.


In addition, a further two people and two businesses have been issued PINs since Christmas Eve.


About 7.40pm on Wednesday (23 December 2020), officers from Inner West Police Area Command attended a restaurant on King Street, Newtown, following reports of potential breaches of public health orders. On arrival, police noted a crowd on the footpath outside the restaurant and a large number of people inside. After speaking with the 45-year-old male owner, who stated he did not have a COVID Safe plan, officers determined there were 27 more people than allowed for the space. The owner was given an opportunity to reduce the number of people within the restaurant, however, the capacity was still exceeded. Following further inquiries, the following day the owner was issued a $5000 PIN for fail to comply with noticed direction in relation to section 7/8/9 COVID-19 -Corporation. A COVID Safe plan has since been submitted.


As part of proactive patrols, officers from Campbelltown City Police Area Command conducted a business inspection of a restaurant on Tindall Street, Campbelltown, about 7.45pm on Thursday (24 December 2020). Police spoke to the manager about the business’ COVID Safe plan and determined they had exceeded their capacity by at least 15 people. During the conversation, staff continued to seat more customers inside the restaurant and police issued a direction for no more people to enter the venue. Further inquiries revealed the restaurant had been given a formal warning earlier in the month for exceeding capacity by more than 65 people. Police subsequently issued a $5000 PIN for fail to comply with noticed direction in relation to section 7/8/9 COVID-19 -Corporation


About 11.15am today (Friday 25 December 2020), officers from Hawkesbury Police Area Command received information a Northern Beaches resident attended a home at Bligh Park in breach of the Public Health Order. Following inquiries, police attended the home on Porpoise Crescent and spoke to the 32-year-old Collaroy woman who confirmed she had travelled to Bligh Park in her car on Christmas Eve (Thursday 24 December 2020). She was directed to return to Collaroy and issued a $1000 PIN for fail to comply with noticed direction in relation to section 7/8/9 COVID-19.


A man has been issued with a PIN after a crowd of people gathered in Centennial Park on Friday night, in breach of the current NSW Health Directions (COVID-19). Officers attached to Eastern Beaches Police Area Command were called to Parkes Drive in Centennial Parklands about 8pm (Friday 25 December 2020), due to concerns of a large gathering. As police approached, the group immediately began dispersing; however, a 22-year-old man – who police allege had been moved on from the Bronte gathering earlier in the day – was issued with a PIN for failing to comply with a Public Health Order (COVID-19). When a 25-year-old man failed to comply with a move-on direction he was issued with an infringement notice.


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27 December 2020


Tweed/Byron Police District is urging visitors and locals alike to celebrate responsibly in the Byron Bay area this Christmas and New Year period.


The festive season has seen a continued influx of visitors to the area and an increase in large public gatherings around the Byron town centre, which have required significant clean-up efforts due to the amount of rubbish left behind.


Under the current restrictions, outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than 100 people in a public place including beaches and parks.


Police have conducted an extensive high-visibility operation, dispersing large crowds gathered at Apex Park, on Thursday 24 and Friday 25 (December 2020). The public are reminded this area is an alcohol-free zone, which effectively prohibits the consumption of alcohol in any public place.


In addition, police attended the National Park area at Tyagarah around midnight yesterday (Saturday 26 December 2020, where an illegally organised party was being held.


In the early hours of this morning (Sunday 27 December 2020), police again attended Apex Park after a large number of people gathered. Police moved on the group and ensured the alcohol they were consuming was tipped out.


Following this, police attended Main Beach and Belongil Beach after approximately 300 people gathered at each location. The parties were closed down by police and the crowd was moved on.


About 200 people were dispersed and music equipment seized with 73 parking infringements issued. Police are liaising with National Parks and Wildlife regarding further infringements for organisers/attendees.


Tweed/Byron Police District Commander, Superintendent David Roptell, is appealing for those involved to respect the environment and be mindful of the amount of rubbish that is being left behind.


It’s not fair for council workers and locals to have to clean the significant mess that is being left after each of these gatherings. I urge those who are intent on meeting in parks and beaches to not only do so safely but be respectful to the environment and those around you by cleaning up after yourself,” Supt Roptell said.


Superintendent Roptell added that police will continue to focus on maintaining a safe and fun atmosphere; however, officers will not tolerate anyone who risks their safety or the safety of others with foolish behaviour.


This year’s Christmas and New Year’s celebrations must be conducted in a COVID-safe environment,” Supt Roptell said.


In saying that, we have a very clear message to those choosing to come to Byron over the Christmas and New Year period – this year is very different, there will be no large gatherings, no dance parties in the park. Social distancing is the new normal, and we all have to do our bit to stop the spread.


The NSW Police Force continues to work closely with health officials and other government agencies, businesses and the community to manage the COVID-19 crisis and minimise the spread of the virus.” Supt Roptell said.


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24 December 2020


A woman from the Northern Beaches has been issued a Penalty Infringement Notice (PINs) over an alleged breach of the Public Health Act while travelling on the South Coast.


Officers from South Coast Police District commenced inquiries yesterday (Wednesday 23 December 2020), after receiving reports a woman from the Northern Beaches had collapsed at a pizza shop at Sanctuary Point the evening before and was treated at Shoalhaven Hospital.


Police were told the woman appeared to be experiencing symptoms – however declined to be tested – and left the hospital.


Following inquiries, police attended a home on Edmund Street, Sanctuary Point, and spoke with the 37-year-old woman and three other occupants. All parties were directed to self-isolate.


The Bilgola Plateau woman has since been issued a $1000 PIN for fail to comply with requirement of public health order – COVID-19.


It is understood the pizza store has closed for cleaning as a precaution.


Police continue to appeal to the community to report suspected breaches of any ministerial direction or behaviour which may impact on the health and safety of the community.


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Residents of other states are also not always following public health orders.....


Yahoo! News, 27 December 2020: 


The woman who fled mandatory hotel quarantine after arriving back in Australia warned authorities of her plan ahead of her escape in a series of disturbing posts to social media. 


Jenny Maree D'ubios was detained by WA Police Saturday evening after fleeing from the Pan Pacific hotel in Perth, where she was being quarantined after flying in from overseas. 


The 49-year-old left the hotel Saturday morning and was spotted walking down Adelaide Terrace in the CBD about 10.20am (local time) carrying a case and a number of bags. 


Police issued a public appeal following her escape, warning that anyone found to be helping her would be subject to heavy penalties. West Australian police revealed in an email on Sunday about 1.40am that Ms D'ubios, who was understood to have been living in Spain for several years, had been found. 


The self-proclaimed “world changer” shared multiple videos from her hotel room after arriving in the country, complaining that the carpet and curtains were giving her allergies. 


WA Police, News, 20 December 2020: 


A 42-year-old man has been arrested, charged and refused bail after failing to comply with a COVID self-quarantine direction upon arriving in Western Australia. The man was granted approval to enter Western Australia as a maritime worker via the G2G Pass system. He arrived at Perth Airport on Friday 18 December 2020, having travelled from Russia, and was issued a direction to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days at an approved accommodation location in Perth. Information was received that the man left his allocated room at the accommodation venue on two occasions on Saturday 19 December 2020. Police attended the scene and commenced an investigation into the claims. Evidence was identified which showed the man had breached his self-quarantine direction. The man was arrested and relocated to the Perth Watch House. A 42-year-old male Russian National has been charged with ‘Failed to Comply with a Direction’. He was refused bail and is due to appear in the Perth Magistrates Court today, Sunday 20 December 2020.


A 20-year-old man has been arrested, charged and refused bail after failing to comply with a COVID self-quarantine direction upon arriving in Western Australia. The man was granted approval to enter Western Australia on compassionate grounds via the G2G Pass system. He arrived at Perth Airport on Thursday 10 December 2020 on a flight from South Australia, and was issued a direction to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days at a nominated address in Northam. It will be alleged the man breached his self-quarantine direction by visiting Northbridge, where he was found about 1:10am on Saturday 19 December 2020. It was also identified he had been staying at a residence in Belmont. A 20-year-old man from Victoria has been charged with ‘Fail to Comply with a Direction’. He was refused bail and is due to appear in the Perth Magistrates Court today, Sunday 20 December 2020.


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Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Australia's unique plant species declining in population numbers faster than mammals and birds


The Conversation, excerpt, 16 December 2020:


Plants, such as WA’s Endangered Foote’s grevillea, make our landscape unique.
 
Andrew Crawford / WA Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions



Australia’s plant species are special - 84% are found nowhere else in the world. The index shows that over about 20 years up to 2017, Australia’s threatened plant populations declined by 72%. This is faster than mammals (which declined by about a third), and birds (which declined by about half). Populations of trees, shrubs, herbs and orchids all suffered roughly similar average declines (65-75%) over the two decades.


Of the 112 species in the index, 68% are critically endangered or endangered and at risk of extinction if left unmanaged. Some 37 plant species have gone extinct since records began, though many others are likely to have been lost before scientists even knew they existed. Land clearing, changed fire regimes, grazing by livestock and feral animals, plant diseases, weeds and climate change are common causes of decline.


Vulnerable plant populations reduced to small areas can also face unique threats. For example, by the early 2000s Foote’s grevillea (Grevillea calliantha) had dwindled to just 27 wild plants on road reserves. Road maintenance activities such as mowing and weed spraying became a major threat to its survival. For other species, like the button wrinklewort, small populations can lead to inbreeding and a lack of genetic diversity.... 


Threatened plant conservation in fire-prone landscapes is challenging if a species’ relationship with fire is not known. Many Australian plant species require particular intensities or frequencies of burns for seed to be released or germinate. But since European settlement, fire patterns have been interrupted, causing many plant populations to decline. 


Three threatened native pomaderris shrubs on the NSW South Coast are a case in point. Each of them – Pomaderris adnata, P. bodalla and P. walshii – have failed to reproduce for several years and are now found only in a few locations, each with a small number of plants. 


Experimental trials recently revealed that to germinate, the seeds of these pomaderris species need exposure to hot-burning fires (or a hot oven). However they are now largely located in areas that seldom burn. This is important knowledge for conservation managers aiming to help wild populations persist.... 


A quarter of the species in the threatened plant index are orchids. Orchids make up 17% of plant species listed nationally as threatened, despite comprising just 6% of Australia’s total plant species. 


The endangered coloured spider-orchid (Caladenia colorata) is pollinated only by a single thynnine wasp, and relies on a single species of mycorrhizal fungi to germinate in the wild. 


Yet even for such a seemingly difficult species, conservation success is possible. In one project, scientists from the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, aided by volunteers, identified sites where the wasp was still naturally present. More than 800 spider orchid plants were then propagated in a lab using the correct symbiotic fungus, then planted at four sites. These populations are now considered to be self-sustaining. 


In the case of Foote’s grevillea, a plant translocation program has established 500 plants at three new sites, dramatically improving the species’ long-term prospects.


The coloured spider orchid, found in South Australia and Victoria, is endangered. 
Noushka Reiter/Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria




Saturday, 19 December 2020

Quote of the Week

 

"The global transition to zero emissions has negative implications for Australia’s important coal and LNG exports. The border taxes that the EU and US will apply to carbon-intensive goods will compound the loss. Join the developed countries of the northern hemisphere on the climate and energy transition, and we gain far more from the new zero-emissions economy than we lose from the old fossil energy. Investment in the new zero-emissions economy can provide much of the stimulus required for Australia’s own movement to full employment." [Professorial research fellow at the University of Melbourne Ross Garnaut, writing in the Financial Review, 11 December 2020]


Wednesday, 9 December 2020

IUCN report finds climate change is a threat to 69 per cent of Australia's 16 World Heritage sites, including the Great Barrier Reef, more than double the global trend of 33 per cent

 

ABC News, 4 December 2020:




Mark Graham takes hope from pockets of Gondwana rainforests regenerating after the bushfires.(Supplied: Drew Hopper)


Ecologist Mark Graham has studied Australia's Gondwana rainforests for decades and, after years of drought and bushfires, says things have never looked so dire.


"To bear witness to the loss of some of these ecosystems . . . it's a very upsetting thing to observe," he said.


The International Union for the Conservation of Nature [IUCN] this week rated Gondwana rainforests a "significant concern". In 2017 the same report rated the forests as "good, with some concern".


The IUCN is the official advisor on nature to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.


The report also found climate change was a threat to 69 per cent of Australia's 16 World Heritage sites, including the Great Barrier Reef, more than double the global trend of 33 per cent.




Nightcap National Park, in northern NSW, is one of the Gondwana rainforests devastated by fire a year ago.(Supplied: Darcy Grant)


Burnt rainforests 'still suffering'


The Gondwana subtropical rainforests stretch from the Hunter region in NSW to south-east Queensland and were entered on the World Heritage List in 1986, with extensions in 1994.


The 41 national parks and reserves ranging from 10 hectares to 102,712 hectares contain more than 200 rare or threatened plant species and have been compared with the Galapagos Islands in terms of global importance.


Mark Graham said more than a year after major bushfires, some parts of the rainforests were still suffering.


"There are definitely [some of] these really ancient forests that have burnt, and a year or more on there's very little, if any, life in them," he said.


"Thankfully, in some of our fire grounds, there is recovery occurring."


'Other threats increasing'


Mr Graham said the real concern now was more fires that might further reduce the size of the rainforests.


The IUCN report points out that while management has so far been effective in addressing challenges, further management responses will be required to address increasing threats, particularly those posed by bushfires as well as invasive species, pathogens, and climate change.


"There is wide recognition that considerable conservation actions will be required," the report says


"However, there is the lingering prospect that the catastrophe is a clear sign of the impact of climate change on weather patterns, and that these changes will not be reversed easily."…….



The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 December 2020:



The 3 billion animals estimated to have been killed, injured or seen their habitat destroyed by the summer fires is now understood to have included 143 million mammals, 181 million birds, 51 million frogs and 2.46 billion reptiles.


The toll includes an estimated 40 million possums and gliders caught in the path of fires; more than 36 million antechinuses, dunnarts, and other insectivorous marsupials; 5.5 million bettongs, bandicoots, quokkas, and potoroos; 5 million kangaroos and wallabies; 1.1 million wombats and 114,000 echidnas.


It is believed 60,000 koalas were killed, injured or lost habitat, with the worst losses on Kangaroo Island where 40,000 were killed or harmed in some way.


About 11,000 koalas were hit in Victoria and 8000 in NSW according to a new report into the impact of the fires on native wildlife, which confirms an earlier overall estimate but provides far more detail about the losses.


Professor Chris Dickman of the University of Sydney, who oversaw the research on behalf of the Worldwide Fund for Nature Australia, said the impact on reptiles was so high because they live in such great densities in some of the worst affected areas, with small lizards such as skinks reaching densities of 1800 per hectare.


Researchers mapped the path of the 15,000 fires over 11.46 million hectares of the total 19 million hectares that burnt over the summer, and married it with existing data about animal densities in the areas hit.


They did not directly estimate numbers of animals killed because research about how different animals may survive fires is limited, and the factors that contribute to impact are varied. For example some species can flee faster and others are more resilient at surviving later in a burnt landscape.....


Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Australian Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements hands down its report - recognises role of climate change in natural disasters, value of Indigenous land management knowledge & need for a permanent sovereign aerial firefighting fleet based here

 

The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements was established on 20 February 2020 in response to the extreme bushfire season of 2019-2020 which resulted in devastating loss of life, property and wildlife, and environmental destruction across the nation.


Those fires started in Australia’s hottest and driest year on record, with much of the 23 million hectares that burnt already impacted by drought and the Forest Fire Danger Index reading the highest since national records began.


The Royal Commission delivered its final report on 28 October 2020 and this was released on 30 October 2020.


In summary the report found:


3.1 Australia’s national arrangements for coordinating disaster management are complicated — there is a plethora of frameworks, plans, bodies, committees and stakeholders, with significant variation and different degrees of implementation.

National coordination, in relation to both operational and policy considerations, is necessary because disaster management is a shared responsibility in our federation.


3.2 Effective national coordination will be a critical capability in managing natural disasters on a national scale or with national consequences. Arrangements need to be clear, robust and accountable.


3.3 Existing arrangements have grown organically over time to fill a void, and have largely served Australia well. The Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC), a not-for-profit company, has led on specific areas related to fire and emergency services. AFAC represents the Australian and New Zealand fire and

emergency services sector, and is primarily comprised of state and territory government fire and emergency services agencies.


3.4 National arrangements for coordinating disaster management require an overhaul so that they are equipped to cope with increasing disaster risks. Australia’s natural disaster arrangements and decision-making need to be supported by informed, strategic leadership, timely policy advice to elected officials, and a robust and accountable national coordination mechanism.


3.5 The changes to Australia’s national arrangements for coordinating disaster management that are contemplated in this chapter are substantive and structural. It has therefore been necessary to set out the current arrangements in detail. It is also necessary to do so because much of the detail was not on the public record.


The report also recognised what the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison federal government has long sought to either ignore or deny – climate change.


23. Extreme weather has already become more frequent and intense because of climate change; further global warming over the next 20 to 30 years is inevitable. Globally, temperatures will continue to rise, and Australia will have more hot days and fewer cool days. Sea levels are also projected to continue to rise. Tropical cyclones are projected to decrease in number, but increase in intensity. Floods and bushfires are expected to become more frequent and more intense. Catastrophic fire conditions may render traditional bushfire prediction models and firefighting techniques less effective.


It also recognised the significance of local knowledge and the need to engage further with Traditional Owners to explore the relationship between Indigenous land and fire management and natural disaster resilience. 


The report also made over eighty specific recommendations.


Most importantly to regions like North-East New South Wales where fire kicked off very early in the bushfire season and where we saw with our own eyes the value aerial firefighting capabilities in keeping fire out of our town and village streets, one of the recommendations contained these observations:


8.106 Australian, state and territory governments should work together to continue to improve Australia’s collective, Australian-based and operated, aerial firefighting capabilities. Though we see merit in the continued use of overseas-based aviation services and air crew in some instances, Australia’s current reliance represents a vulnerability, as demonstrated during the 2019-2020 bushfire season.


8.107 We define Australia’s sovereign aerial firefighting capability as the collective Australian-based aerial firefighting capabilities of the states and territories, supported by a national capability which is jointly funded by the Australian, state and territory governments. These capabilities should be maintained through procurement and contracting strategies that support the Australian-based aerial firefighting industry.


8.108 The development of a modest Australian-based and registered national fleet of VLAT/LAT aircraft and Type-1 helicopters, jointly funded by the Australian, state and territory governments, will enhance Australia’s bushfire resilience. A standing national fleet would ensure that the states and territories have the necessary resources to call upon during periods of high demand, without the need to reduce the operational capabilities of other jurisdictions. This standing fleet should also include situational awareness and support capabilities which may benefit from a nationally coordinated approach.


8.109 Australia’s sovereign aerial firefighting capability should be supported by ongoing research and evaluation to inform specific capability needs, and the most effective aerial firefighting strategies.


8.110 Australia’s sovereign aerial firefighting capability may be supplemented by overseas based aviation services, where additional capacity is forecast to be required and available. [my yellow highlighting]



Australian Royal Commission Into National Natural Disaster Arrangements - Report [Accessible] by clarencegirl on Scribd



Appendices to the final report can be found at