The New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) is responsible for preventing, mitigating, and suppressing fires in rural fire districts and is the lead combat agency for bush and grass fires in the State. The NSW RFS works alongside local councils, government agencies, and other statutory fire authorities to coordinate and oversee bushfire prevention. Local councils are responsible for establishing rural fire brigades, preparing bushfire risk management plans in local government areas where there is an identified risk of bushfires, contributing to the cost of the firefighting fleet, and managing and maintaining the firefighting fleet. Following the 2019–20 bushfire season, the NSW Government allocated $700 million in funding to the NSW RFS. The Independent inquiry into the 2019–20 bushfire season recommended improvements to the NSW RFS’s technology, communication infrastructure, equipment, fleet, and aviation assets.
This audit will assess how effectively the NSW RFS and three local councils plan for and manage the firefighting fleet required to prepare for and respond to bushfires in NSW. The three councils included in the audit are Hawkesbury City Council, Uralla Shire Council, and Wagga Wagga City Council.