WA's top public sector economic advisor has blasted the State Government's response to the Margaret River bushfire, calling for the immediate release of the Keelty report, compensation for victims and a new, fully independent inquiry into the management of the bushfire.
Economic Regulation Authority chairman Lyndon Rowe, whose dream retirement home in Redgate was razed by the bushfire, said anger and sorrow were the dominant emotions among the blaze's victims.
Writing in today's _The Weekend _ _West _, Mr Rowe said the terms of reference governing the inquiry by former Australian Federal Police commissioner Mick Keelty were too narrow and would not address how well the Department of Environment and Conservation prescribed burn was managed after it got out of control.
"There is a strong expectation by residents that the Keelty Report will be highly critical of DEC. How could it be otherwise," Mr Rowe said.
Premier Colin Barnett has flagged he will release the Keelty report next week, when Parliament resumes for 2012.
_The Weekend West _understands that the report is highly critical of the DEC's decision to continue on with the prescribed burn given the hot weather and forecasts for stronger winds.
On Sunday, November 20, the outlook for the following Wednesday, when the fire was sweeping through properties in Prevelly, was for 29km/h winds from the north-north east.
They were forecast to increase to 33km/h on Thursday.
But according to the DEC's fire plan for the Margaret River prescribed burn, the "desirable wind speed" was 16km/h or less.
On the two days the fire did the most damage the wind was gusting at up to 70km/h and in the days leading up to the fire escaping the DEC burn area, Weather Bureau records show the winds were already blowing at more than double the speed considered favourable for the burn.
Mr Barnett acknowledged the Government faced "some bigger decisions about how fire management is done in this State". <div class="endnote">