ACT Heritage Library Manuscript Collection

HMSS 0343 ACT Bushfire Support Unit Papers

Scope and Content Notes 

Call Number

HMSS 0343

Collection 

ACT Bushfire Support Unit Papers

Date Range

2003-2006

Quantity

0.09m (1 manuscript box)

Access Conditions

open

Copying conditions

with attribution

Related Collections

HMSS 0238 Wrap Up Canberra Records
HMSS 0291 Our Community Remembers Saturday January 18 2003
HMSS 0314 Mt Stromlo Observatory, the aftermath
HMSS 0317 Newell-Sutherland Mount Stromlo photographs
HMSS 0332 Keira Bulbs Photographs
HMSS 0339 Canberra Alpine Club Photographs
HMSS 0340 Patricia Frei photograph collection
HMSS 0358 Sarah Sowry 2003 Bushfires Diary
HMSS 0462 Bibaringa Homestead Photographs - Before and After the 2003 Bushfire

On 18 January 2003, the ACT experienced an unprecedented fire disaster, causing the tragic death of four people, nearly 500 injuries treated at hospitals, the loss of 488 homes and over 90 community, educational, commercial and farm buildings; damage to many other homes and businesses, including rural properties and villages to the west of Canberra; and widespread destruction of physical infrastructure, forests and the environment generally. The total financial cost of the fires has been estimated at $350m.

The scale of the effects of the January 2003 bushfire disaster on ACT citizens and the community and on public and private property led the ACT Government to conclude that there was a need for a specially focused approach to the ongoing direction of the recovery.

While the majority of the Government response the disaster would be most effectively undertaken by existing Government and community sector agencies, the scale of the disaster, the wide range of responses required and the need to ensure that momentum and coordination was maintained led to the Government’s decision to adopt a taskforce approach:

  • On the 24 January 2003, the Government announced the establishment of a Bushfire Recovery Taskforce to coordinate the government, community and business efforts to assist the victims of the disaster and the longer-term recovery of the ACT.
  • The Taskforce was to report to the Chief Minister as the Minister responsible for Bushfire Recovery.
  • A Community and Expert Reference Group (CERG) was established by the ACT Government on 3 February 2003 as a key advisory body to the Taskforce and Government on community recovery issues and as an essential two-way communication channel to ensure that the recovery strategy was informed by community views and needs, and by local knowledge and expertise.
  • The Taskforce and CERG were supported by a Bushfire Recovery Taskforce Secretariat, staffed mainly by seconded ACT public servants tasked with ensuring that the recovery process was a key priority through the ACT administration and that affected people’s needs were responded to promptly.
  • The ACT Recovery Centre at Lyons was established on 24 January 2003 as a central point for bushfire affected residents to access information, advice, services and support. 

The role of the Taskforce was to advise the Government, provide leadership for the recovery and act as a bridge between Government agencies and the community. Members of the Taskforce were:

  • Sandy Hollway AO, previous resident of Canberra, senior Commonwealth Public Servant and CEO of the Sydney Organising Committee for the 2000 Olympic Games; Chair of the Taskforce;
  • Robert de Castella, well known local athlete and Olympic marathon runner, as a representative of those people whose homes were destroyed;
  • Terry Snow, Executive Chairman of the Canberra Airport Group, as a representative of the business community;
  • Maureen Cane, Chief Executive Officer of Communities @ Work (the recently amalgamated Tuggeranong and Weston Creek Community Services), as a representative of the community sector;
  • Mr Robert Tonkin, Chief Executive of the Chief Minister’s Department; and
  • Mr Alan Thompson, the Chief Executive of the Department of Urban Services, who was taken ‘off line’ to be Chief Executive of the Bushfire Recovery Taskforce Secretariat.

The Taskforce was established with the following functions:

  • develop the ACT Bushfire Recovery Plan;
  • provide regular progress reports to the Chief Minister, as well as regular community and media information on recovery progress.
  • provide advice to Government of the needs and responses of the disaster victims, the affected communities and other sectors;
  • through the CERG, coordinate the actions of peak community, welfare, business and education organisations in their contribution to the bushfire recovery to ensure the most effective use of skills and resources;
  • coordinate public infrastructure, housing, commercial and community organisation recovery and reconstruction;
  • coordinate the ongoing Government services aspects of community recovery including accommodation, finance/ insurance, assistance programs, one stop shop assistance, donations and volunteering; and
  • provide advice on planning and environmental aspects of the recovery.

The Taskforce provided its final report in October 2003. Its functions were progressively moved to the appropriate government services.

Its website is preserved on the Australian Internet Archive, Pandora.

Box List 

Box Number

Format

Series

Description

Quantity

Date Range

1

Compact disc

Surface Coating Association Australia / Australian Pain Manufacturers Federation Conference Presentation

file name: ACT SCAAAPMF August No photos
format: MS Powerpoint
size: 1,129kb, 22 slides in file
date of file: 07/08/2003
content:contains text, colour illustrations, ACT Bushfire Recovery Taskforce logo
“The Canberra Firestorm: Rebuilding the ACT”, Presentation by Alan Thompson, Chief Executive, ACT Bushfire Recovery Taskforce to the SCAA: APMF Joint Conference, 9 August 2003

1 cd

09/08/2003

1

Surface Coating Association Australia / Australian Pain Manufacturers Federation Conference Presentation

file name: ACT SCAAAPMF August
format: MS Powerpoint
size: 169,289kb, 33 slides in file
date of file: 04/08/2003
content:contains text, colour illustrations and photographs, ACT Bushfire Recovery Taskforce logo
“The Canberra Firestorm: Rebuilding the ACT”, Presentation by Alan Thompson, Chief Executive, ACT Bushfire Recovery Taskforce to the SCAA: APMF Joint Conference, 9 August 2003

  

1

Compact disc

Bushfire Recovery Day Presentations

File name:
format:  MS Powerpoint
size: 17,636kb, 21 slides
date of file: 22/05/2004
content: text, colour illustrations and photographs, ACT Department of Urban Services logos.
Alan Thompson’s Presentation [sic]
“Re-greening the ACT -  the Urban Services Contribution“
Presentation by Alan Thompson, Chief Executive, ACT Bushfire Recovery Taskforce, 21 May 2004

2 cds

21/05/2004

1

Compact disc

Bushfire Recovery Day Presentations

File name: bushfire public info day
format: MS Powerpoint
size: 11,863kb, 14 slides
date of file: 21/05/2004
content: contains, text, colour illustrations and photographs, ACT Planning & Land Authority logo
“Shaping the ACT’s Future & Assisting with Bushfire Recovery”, Mr Neil Savery, Chief Planning Executive

1 cd

23/05/2004

1

Compact disc

Bushfire Recovery Day Presentations

File name: Dynamic Heart
format: MS Powerpoint
size: 12,718 kb, 11 slides|
date of file: 10/05/2004
content: contains colour photographs, ACT Planning & Land Authority logo
presentation by Tanya Saad?

1 cd

10/05/2004

1

Compact disc

Bushfire Recovery Day Presentations

File name: George Tomlins Information Day Presentation
format: MS Powerpoint
size: 13,574kb, 42 slides
date of file: 21/05/2004
content: contains
“Shaping Our Territory Implementation”, Presentation by George Tomlins of SOTIG? at Bushfire Recovery Information Day, May 2004 – concerns the rural villages of Uriarra, Pierces Creek and Stromlo

1 cd

21/05/2004

1

Compact disc

Bushfire Recovery Day Presentations

File name:variety of files
format: MS word, jpg photographs
size: 8.5mb, 12 jpg photographs, 1 MS Word document
content: photographs available for “A Community Remembers”, gathering to mark the first anniversary of the Bushfires, 18/01/2004

Note: Images 1 – 7: Supplied by the Bushfire Recovery Taskforce

Image 1 – fire burnt-out car

Image 2 – fire community fighting the fires

Image 3 – Lincoln Close Chapman (after the devastation Jan 03) courtesy of The Canberra Times

Image 4 – Lincoln Close Chapman1 (after the clean-up Mar 03) courtesy of The Canberra Times

Image 5 – Rebuilding family looking at plan

Image 6 – Rebuilding10 – site clearing

Image 7 – Salvation Army hampers (community unites to help)

Note: Images 8 – 12: DT Images folder - Photography acknowledgement – Photography by Dianne Thompson

Image 8 – 039_mt_t (View of Mt Taylor ACT) photography by Dianne Thompson

Image 9 – 085_tidb (Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve ACT) photography by Dianne Thompson

Image 10 – Dscn_0855 (Nature recovering – Regrowth of gum trees) Photography by Dianne Thompson

Image 11 – Dscn_0915 (after the fires - logging of pine trees Mt Stomlo) Photography by Dianne Thompson 

Image 12 – Dscn_1425 (Nature recovering – bushland regrowth) Photography by Dianne Thompson

1 cd

13/01/2004

Compact disc

Bushfire Recovery Day Presentations

File name: dedication 18Jan2006
format: file containing 34 colour jpg images
size:  26.9mb; 34 files
content: 34 colour jpg photographs of dedication of Bushfire Memorial 18/01/2006

1 cd

18/01/2006

1

Compact disc

Taskforce Report

File name: 2003 11 21 Taskforce Report – final draft master
format: MS Word
size: 1, 291 kb, 141 pages
content: contains The Report of the Bushfire Recovery Taskforce, Australian Capital Territory, October 2003

1 cd

23/11/2003

 

Taskforce Report

File name: 2003 11 23 Taskforce Report – final draft master
format: MS Word
size: 1, 271 kb, 130 pages
content: contains The Report of the Bushfire Recovery Taskforce, Australian Capital Territory, October 2003

  

1

Compact disc

Audio Recordings

File name: Track01
format: cd audio track
size: 1kb, 2m, 12 seconds
content: ESA on hold messages for Canberra Connect

1 cd

Circa 2003

1

Photo sleeves

Photographic Prints

Photographs taken by Alan Thompson of aftermath of Bushfires from an aircraft (probably a helicopter)
91 colour 10 x 15cm prints

January 2003