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Australia to hold wide-ranging enquiry into disastrous bushfires

Protests around Australia were organised in response to the ongoing bushfire crisis in Australia.

Protests around Australia were organised in response to the ongoing bushfire crisis in Australia.   | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said a six-month Royal Commission would investigate preparedness for future bushfires

Australia will hold a wide-ranging enquiry into the causes of recent bushfires that killed 33 people and razed an area the size of South Korea, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday.

Australia has for months been battling hundreds of blazes that began in September - an unusually prolonged summer wildfire season that was fuelled by three years of drought, which experts have attributed to climate change.

Also read: State of emergency declared as bushfire threatens Australian capital

With firefighters now able to contain the several dozen fires still alight, Mr. Morrison said a six-month Royal Commission would investigate preparedness for future bushfires and the need for any changes to the law to clarify who is responsible for overseeing emergency authorities.

Also read: Australia’s massive fires could become routine, climate scientists warn

“This Royal Commission is looking at the practical things that must be done to keep Australians safe and safer for longer in hot dry summers - conditions in which Australians will live into the future,” Mr. Morrison told reporters in Sydney.

Mr. Morrison has stoked public anger by refusing to directly link the bushfires to climate change, insisting removing flammable vegetation is “just as important, if not more”.

His management of the fires was already under the microscope after he was forced into a rare public apology for taking a holiday to Hawaii in November.

Mr. Morrison in January deployed 6,500 military reservists to support state authorities - which he said created a “constitutional grey zone”.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 8:33:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/australia-to-hold-wide-ranging-enquiry-into-disastrous-bushfires/article30867296.ece

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