The Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), has agreed to extend the reporting date for the Royal Commission by two months, to 28 October 2020.
The extension of the Royal Commission has been granted at the request of the Chair of the Royal Commission, Air Chief Marshall Mark Binskin AC (Retd), and supported by the Commonwealth Government to ensure that the Royal Commission could discharge its obligations in accordance with the Letters Patent.
The Royal Commission has adapted quickly to continue its work in light of COVID-19 restrictions, however the Royal Commission Chair has advised the Government that the disruption caused by the pandemic placed unavoidable pressures on a number of stakeholders to provide information to the Royal Commission in a timely manner.
The Chair has also advised that this short extension will provide the Royal Commission with the opportunity to appropriately consider the many hundreds of thousands of pages of material the Royal Commission has received in submissions, responses to papers published, and responses to requests from the Royal Commission.
Although the final reporting date has been extended by two months, the Commission is expected to provide the Government with Interim Observations on 31 August 2020, which will allow for work to be done in preparation for the next bushfire season.
The Commonwealth Government is committed to ensuring that our national natural disaster arrangements are as effective as possible in protecting people, property and wildlife.