Bushfire review on Kangaroo Island modified due to coronavirus COVID-19

The Ravine fire starts to march south towards Flinders Chase National Park at 1.30pm on January 3. Photo by Sabrina Davis on the West End Highway.
The Ravine fire starts to march south towards Flinders Chase National Park at 1.30pm on January 3. Photo by Sabrina Davis on the West End Highway.

The rapidly changing response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) will mean that community forums in South Australia's fire-affected communities at Cudlee Creek, Keilira (Kingston), Kingscote, Parndana, Port Lincoln and Yorketown will need to be modified in line with COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.

The public meetings will not proceed however the inquiry team will contact people through the use of technologies such as video streaming and teleconferencing.

The inquiry team has already processed a significant amount of material forward from the community through the 'Your Say' websites and interviews have commenced with key agencies involved in fighting the fires.

In addition, protocols have been established between the Inquiry head, Mick Keelty AO and the SA Deputy State Coroner and the SA Police who are investigating the cause of deaths and the ignition of the fires.

The social distancing restrictions and travel restrictions will mean that a different approach will need to be adopted to undertake the Inquiry.

"We have extended the deadline for submissions for agencies because there has been a change to staff numbers in the affected agencies and some people are now working from home. We have also reduced the size of the Inquiry Team and are operating in line with the recommendations of both the State and Commonwealth Governments as the response to COVID-19 evolves," Mr Keelty said.

"The review team will continue to monitor government and relevant authority recommendations in relation to COVID-19 and follow any necessary instructions."

The entire Kangaroo Island under Emergency or Watch and Act, including Dudley Peninsula on the evening of January 3.

The entire Kangaroo Island under Emergency or Watch and Act, including Dudley Peninsula on the evening of January 3.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Corey Wingard said: "It is important that the Bushfire Inquiry proceeds in order to prepare us for the upcoming 2020/21 season. The use of technology to conduct the inquiry while keeping people safe is a further test of the resilience of our community to adapt to changing circumstances".

For more information, including the terms of reference for the review, please visit the SAFECOM website: www.safecom.sa.gov.au

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