Jesuit Social Services welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Inquiry into the 2019-2020 Victorian Fire Season being conducted by the Inspector-General for Emergency Management (IGEM).

The Victorian Government announced this Inquiry in January 2020, at the same time as it established the statutory body, Bushfire Recovery Victoria.

The focus of the first phase of the Inquiry is upon operational responses to the fires. The second phase (to finish in April 2021) will review the processes and outcomes from the first phase.

Jesuit Social Services has made a brief submission to the first phase of the Inquiry, which:

  • commends the Victorian Government’s ongoing response to the 2019-20 bushfire season,
  • highlights that a just response to Victoria’s preparedness, response, relief and recovery is vital to contribute to long-term equitable and resilient communities across the state,
  • argues that the impacts of climate change and ecological injustice are rising and, as we attempt to address these impacts, that this time of multiple crises is opportune to address the root drivers of marginalisation and vulnerability environmentally, economically and socially, and
  • makes six recommendations outlining our call for an equitable, just and holistic response to protect our common home.