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SA Government's Response

SA Government's response

The State Government has released the full Independent Review into the 2019/20 South Australian Bushfire Season along with a $20.3 million action plan for delivering on the recommendations made in the report.

The review found that across the emergency services sector, the response was remarkable considering the conditions faced were the worst on record.

It made 15 recommendations including the need for investment in enhanced technology like Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) Systems, burnover protection systems, new trucks and a single source of truth and information for the community and stakeholders.

A copy of the Government of South Australia’s response to the Independent Review is available here. The response included a commitment to implementing a number of immediate actions with funding of $20.3 million towards new trucks and equipment for volunteers, better protection for critical assets, enhanced communications and technology and improved information before and during bushfires. 

A further $16.7 million in federal and state funding is being invested over five years through the South Australian Disaster Risk Reduction Grants Program. The South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service also received $11.5 million for new urban appliances – taking the total package for the SA emergency services to $48.5 million. 

Actions completed 

An overview of the short-term and longer-term response actions is provided in the Government of South Australia’s response to the Independent Review into South Australia’s 2019-2020 Bushfire Season – here.  

Our Progress 

All 27 short-term actions are complete.  Of the remaining 42 long-term actions, 20 are complete and implementation on the remaining 22 actions has commenced.  A summary of actions and progress is provided below:  

New trucks, support and equipment for volunteers

  • Fire Truck Safety Retrofit System - 49 CFS vehicles fitted
  • Accelerated replacement of CFS Heavy Fire trucks - 25 new trucks delivered
  • Thermal imaging cameras have been provided to all 55 CFS Groups.

Better protection for our critical assets

  • Disaster risk reduction strategies focussing on the protection of critical infrastructure under the $16.7m joint Commonwealth/State disaster resilience and risk reduction package.
  • Consultation, review and implementation of previously accepted recommendations has been completed.
  • Legislation has been amended to require the State Bushfire Management Committee to report to State Parliament.
  • The State Emergency Management Plan was updated in 2022.
  • The new State Bushfire Management Plan 2021-2025 is being implemented.

Enhanced Communications and Technology

  • Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) technology has been installed in Country Fire Service, Forestry SA, Metropolitan Fire Service, and the State Emergency Service vehicles across South Australia. 
  • Rapid Damage Assessment capability has been improved in terms of speed and accuracy.
  • A monitoring system has been created to capture real-time data from a range of systems onto a common picture to assist the State Emergency Centre with decision making during emergencies.
  • A lightning tracking system has been developed to assist with early detection and rapid response to lightning ignitions.

Improved information before and during bushfires

  • Additional BOM resources are now available to support State Emergency Centre decision makers.
  • Emergency Alert has been expanded to improve emergency warnings.
  • Australian Fire Danger Ratings System was implemented in SA in September 2022.  The new system utilises the latest fire science to better inform the community during extreme fire weather.
  • Additional public education resources are now available to improve awareness of high-risk activities during periods of high fire danger.
  • The agreed outcomes of the 2019 Operation Nomad Review are now complete.
  • Alert SA has been enhanced to improve bushfire warnings.
  • ABC broadcast capability has been included in the new State Control Centre.
  • Education programs have been reviewed and enhanced to refocus messaging and improve understanding of key information such as the role of places of last resort, hazard reduction application processes, fuel reduction strategies and the importance of bushfire plans.

Institutional and capability improvements

  • Five new aircraft were added to the CFS fleet, significantly improving the State’s aerial capability ahead of the 2023-24 bushfire season. 
  • Legislation was amended to require the appointment of an independent chair on the SAFECOM Board.
  • SAFECOM’s role and function was officially established under the Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005. 

Accessing the Report

To access and download a copy of the final report, click the link below:

Contact Us

For general enquiries about the review, please email: