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Tasmanian Bushfires Inquiry

On Friday 4 January 2013, Tasmania experienced a record heat wave across the State which contributed to catastrophic bushfire conditions. A number of bushfires active that day were unable to be controlled for some days and destroyed significant amounts of public and private property. Fortunately there was no loss of life or serious injury as a direct consequence of these fires.


The 2013 Tasmanian Bushfires Inquiry Report is now available.


On 9 April 2013 the Premier, Lara Giddings, announced the appointment of the former South Australian Police Commissioner, Malcolm Hyde, to head up an inquiry into the January 2013 bushfires in Tasmania.  The intent of the inquiry is to learn from these events to ensure that Tasmania is better prepared for the future, because climate change will result in more extreme weather, more often, meaning Tasmania is likely to experience more bushfires.

The Inquiry will consider set terms of reference, as well as 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).

The focus of the 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, this information is to be referred to the appropriate authority, on a confidential basis.

The Inquiry is to report by 30 September 2013.


On the 8th May 2013 the Inquiry called for submissions from interested parties in relation to the terms of reference. Written submissions addressing all or any of the matters were requested by Friday 14 June 2013.

The period for submissions has now closed.

Previous lessons - Black Tuesday 1967

Tasmania is a State subject to very high fire risk and has previously experienced extensive and catastrophic bushfires, most notably on 7 February 1967 that left

Since 1967 the Tasmanian emergency services have developed a coordinated State-wide approach to planning for and responding to bushfires and an extensive network of career and volunteer emergency services personnel. Previous State and inter-State inquiries into fire management and emergency response, most notably the Black Saturday Bushfire Royal Commission conducted in Victoria after the devastating and catastrophic bushfires that occurred in that State in February 2009, have helped to inform the approach taken by Tasmania.

Notwithstanding the efforts to date, it is likely that Tasmania will continue to experience extreme or catastrophic fire danger weather events, such as that experienced on 4 January 2013 and that this will continue to challenge fire prevention and mitigation strategies and emergency response and recovery arrangements in the State of Tasmania.