SA Labor calls for release of Keelty bushfire review

The Playford Highway at Gosse the day after where two Kangaroo Island residents were killed by the bushfire on January 3.
The Playford Highway at Gosse the day after where two Kangaroo Island residents were killed by the bushfire on January 3.

SA Labor has called on Emergency Services Minister Corey Wingard to immediately release the Keelty Review of South Australia's response to the summer bushfires on Kangaroo Island and the Adelaide Hills.

Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Lee Odenwalder said Mr Wingard has confirmed he has received the report, but has refused to give any detail of the report's contents, or even if the report would be released in full.

The Islander has contacted the office of Mr Wingard for a response. A spokesperson said government was considering the review and the minister would make an announcement shortly.

Mr Odenwalder said AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty was appointed in January to lead a "broad-scope" review of South Australia's bushfire preparedness, which premier Steven Marshall said was about "ensuring our state is as ready and prepared as we can be for further significant bushfire."

"The "Keelty review" has been finalised and has been sitting on Corey Wingard's desk for a week," Mr Odenwalder said.

SA Labor says Mr Keelty told the ABC on Monday that he had recommended substantial changes to the structure of the South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission.

SAFECOM's role is to "ensure that volunteers and employees within the fire and emergency services sector are provided with the resources and support they need to carry out this vital work."

"Our emergency services personnel need to see the recommendations of this review as a matter of urgency, to digest and adapt to whatever changes are recommended by Mr Keelty," Mr Odenwalder said.

"We owe it to our emergency services workers to ensure that they approach this fire season with confidence and clarity.

"There is a report sitting on the minister's desk which makes recommendations about our bushfire preparedness, and the minister won't release it. Why not?

"We are a few months out from what could be another catastrophic fire season, and the minister is sitting on a report of expert recommendations about bushfire preparedness.

"There's already deep discontent within the sector about the Corey Wingard's leadership, his delays and his failure to consult and to listen. Now they are asking to see this report.

"This report must be released in full, so that we can all learn from the devastating fires of last summer, and prepare our emergency workers for the season ahead."

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