On Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009 (Black Saturday), Victoria experienced the most devastating bushfires in its history resulting in catastrophic loss of life and property. The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission was established on 16 February 2009 to: inquire into and report on the causes and circumstances of the fires that burned in January – February 2009, the preparation and planning before the fires, all aspects of the response to the fires, measures taken by utilities, and any other matter it considered appropriate.
The Royal Commission concluded that five of the major fires that it investigated were started by powerlines. In its July 2010 Final Report, the Royal Commission concluded that: The SWER and 22-kV distribution networks constitute a high risk for bushfire ignition, along with other risks posed by the aging of parts of the networks and the particular limitations of SWER lines.
The Royal Commission made 67 recommendations, of which eight (Recommendations 27 – 34) relate to reducing the likelihood of powerlines starting catastrophic bushfires. These recommendations have been accepted by the Victorian Government. The Powerline Bushfire Safety Taskforce was established to recommend to the Victorian Government how to maximize the value to Victorians from the following two electricity-related recommendations...(Read full report).