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Royal Commission into the 2009 fires

Fire, Victoria's most difficult land management issue. Photo courtesy CSIROThe VNPA strongly supported the Royal Commission inquiry set up by former Victorian Premier John Brumby into the state's 2009 bushfires.

There have been many inquiries into fire in Victoria but there has not been a well-resourced, independent judicial inquiry since the landmark Stretton Royal Commission into the 1939 Black Friday fires.

Fire is probably the most difficult land management issue in Victoria, and there is a multitude of divergent opinions on how both public and private land should be managed in relation to fire.

The safety of communities in the face of bushfires is clearly an issue that has to be managed as well as possible, and many people (including the VNPA) have certainly felt the impact of Black Saturday in this regard.

However, the bush isn't just fuel; it is where the bulk of Victoria's biodiversity - some 100,000 species - lives.

The VNPA has supported zoned fuel reduction and ecological burns across all land tenures for many years. What we must do now is increase our understanding of the long (and complex) relationship the bush has with fire, so we can improve fire management.


VNPA and the Royal Commission

Just how do we manage our natural areas when climate change is predicted to bring us fires of increasing severity and frequency? And how do we manage community safety in fire-prone areas?

The VNPA has made several submissions to the Commission, and was granted 'Leave to Appear' status for the hearings on planned burning, enabling us to comment on the recommendations of the Commission's Council Assisting.

You can download the VNPA's submissions from our submissions page.


The Commission's final report

Justice Teague and his colleagues were asked to investigate the causes of the 2009 fires, and the preparation, planning and resourcing of fire management.

They were also asked to report on the provision of emergency services, and "any other matter the Commission deems appropriate".

The Commission's final report is available online at


Royal Commission and planned burning

After two weeks of investigations, the Commission's Council Assisting made recommendations on planned burning to the Commissioners.

Read a summary of the VNPA's response to these recommendations.