During the 2019-20 bushfire season – a season that took lives and left a trail of destruction across Australia – Canberrans remained informed and safe.
The ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) is extremely proud of this achievement, and the efforts of all volunteers and staff who contributed to this outcome. This includes the ESA Commissioner, Georgeina Whelan, who made a commitment to the ACT community to keep them informed so that they could make appropriate decisions regarding their safety.
The ESA always strives to undertake operations in a way that is safe, legally compliant and financially responsible.
The ESA has already commenced a thorough review process of the bushfire season. More than 38 workshops have been undertaken with volunteers and staff.
“Draft for discussion” documents collected from all areas of the Agency have been provided to an external consultant, who this week has commenced a process to analyse the honest and unedited feedback received from volunteers and staff as part of the evaluation process.
In addition to the independent review, recently appointed ESA Deputy Commissioner, Ray Johnson, is also conducting a review of the whole of government response to the 2019-20 bushfire season.
All matters raised through the review process, the external consultant’s report, and Mr Johnson’s review will be analysed, and where necessary actions will be put in place for future improvements.
The ESA welcomes any opportunity to reflect and improve on its performance. This process will also include the consideration of recommendations made from the ACT Legislative Assembly’s Justice and Community Safety Committee Inquiry, and the Australian Government’s Royal Commission.
The internal After-Action Review process only works if volunteers and staff are comfortable to express their views and experiences in a safe and supportive environment. Discussing a “draft for discussion” document in the media at this early stage of the review works against this approach.
It would be inappropriate for the ESA to comment further until the review process is complete and the Agency has had the opportunity to discuss the outcomes with its volunteers and staff.