ON the one year anniversary of the devastating Sir Ivan Bushfire, NSW Farmers’ Association is hoping a Coronial General Inquiry will provide clarity to the local farming community around the challenges in communication, negotiation and engagement that played a part in the blaze.
This week marks 12 months since the fire tore through 55,000 hectares of farming land in the Dunedoo, Cassilis and Coolah communities, killing about 6000 head of livestock, destroying 35 homes, along with machinery, sheds, farm equipment and thousands of kilometres in fencing.
After strong campaigning by the NSW Farmers’ Association for a Coronial General Inquiry, NSW Farmers has been notified by the Coroner’s Court that a General Inquiry will go ahead.
NSW Farmers’ spokesperson Will Arnott said he hopes the inquiry will help all those affected get the closure they need.
“The blaze took away the livelihoods of a number of farmers and had a dreadful effect on the communities that were affected,” he said.
“Fortunately no lives were lost but it caused a lot of angst for a lot of people and it was made worse by reports of inadequate communication between the Rural Fire Service leadership team and those who were on the ground.”
One year on from the blaze and communities are still rebuilding.
In December, almost $1 million in donations was raised for victims in the Sir Ivan Bushfire Appeal, a joint initiative of the NSW Farmers’ Merriwa Branch and the Merriwa Show Society.