Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville today announced an independent investigation into the escape of the planned burn undertaken at Lancefield on September 30.
The investigation will be led by the Director of Western Australia’s Office of Bushfire Risk Management (OBRM) Murray Carter who will examine all aspects of the planned burn, including its timing, communication with the community and the factors involved in it getting out of control.
The investigation team will seek advice from Vivien Philpotts from the Lancefield community to ensure landowners have the opportunity to share their concerns.
The Lancefield planned burn undertaken by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning escaped containment lines on October 3. It was brought under control by DELWP and CFA firefighters over the next two days but flared up again as a result of the hot, windy conditions experienced across Victoria on October 6.
The Andrews Labor Government’s immediate priority has been to support the local communities most affected by the fire, including those in and around Lancefield, Benloc and Cobaw.
The investigation will commence next week and all findings will be made public.
Quotes attributable to the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville
“What happened at Lancefield is completely unacceptable and I understand why the community is angry.”
“This independent review will fully investigate the circumstances that led to the Lancefield planned burn escaping control lines and threatening communities.”
Quotes attributable to the Minister for Emergency Services, Jane Garrett
"Our firefighters are doing outstanding work so early in the season. They are working tirelessly on the frontline and they have our thanks."
"It's important we give them the support they need to protect lives and properties in their communities."
Quote attributable to the Member for Macedon, Mary-Anne Thomas
“This investigation will help get to the bottom of what went wrong in Lancefield and while this occurs the Government is ready to support the community to repair and rebuild.”
Additional information about Murray Carter (Director Office of Bushfire Risk Management (OBRM), Western Australia)
Murrray Carter has held the position of Director OBRM for the past 14 months. OBRM is an independent Office responsible to the Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner, WA. The role of OBRM is to enhance the efficient and effective management of bushfire related risk in WA in order to protect people, assets and other things valuable to community. Its functions include, among others, the regulation of prescribed burning and the application of a risk management framework to the use of planned fire.
Prior to the OBRM appointment, Mr Carter was the Manager, Fire Management Services Branch (Chief Fire Officer) for the Department of Parks and Wildlife WA. During his time in this role he led the reform of the Departments prescribed fire program into alignment with the International Standard for Risk Management, AS/NZS ISO 31000; 2009 Risk Management Principles and Guidelines. Mr Carter has twenty eight years of operational bushfire and emergency management experience with a strong focus on prescribed burning.
Mr Carter is currently the Chairperson of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Rural and Land Management Group.
Reviewed 10 February 2021