Bushfire survey identifies community’s concerns

Residents of the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River are still concerned about the ability of the natural environment to recover after the November 2011 bushfire, according to a recent survey conducted by the Shire with the assistance of the Bushfire Recovery Working Group.

Shire Bushfire Recovery Officer Gemma Mincherton said survey participants wanted environmental planning and monitoring to continue on fire-affected areas, with ongoing erosion control and revegetation also listed as priorities.

“The survey has been useful in gauging people’s feelings about the recovery work done to date and identifying the areas where the community wants to see resources allocated next,” she said.

“The results indicate the community is pleased that considerable time and resources have gone into environmental recovery.”

The survey report also indicated community members had a renewed interest and heightened awareness about the need to be bushfire prepared.

“Seventy-one percent of respondents to the fire preparedness question indicated they wanted more information on how to draft a household emergency plan, and 68 percent wanted more information about creating emergency kits,” she said.

“There was also strong support for the establishment of a Community Bushfire Awareness Day,” said Gemma.

The survey showed that support services were still required by those directly impacted by the fires and people valued regular recovery information updates. Community members also indicated they want a low-key commemorative event for the first anniversary of the fire.

Gemma said that, “The findings identified in the survey report will guide the recovery activities of the Shire and the Bushfire Recovery Working Group into the coming year. The responses provided by the respondents will help us identify the priority projects and determine how to best spend the remaining $15,000 from the Premier’s Fund.”

Members of the Bushfire Recovery Working Group include the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River, the Department of Child Protection, the Red Cross and volunteer community members.