Asthma Australia is encouraging Canberrans with asthma to have their say on the draft ACT Government Strategic Bushfire Management Plan (SBMP) 2019 – 2024, now open for public comment. The SBMP is a five year government strategy to reduce risks of bushfires on the ACT community and sets the approach towards managing bushfires, hazard reduction burns and community preparedness.

Asthma Australia is inviting people with asthma to submit feedback on their experience, views and knowledge on the health impacts bushfire smoke has, to help shape the draft Plan.

CEO of Asthma Australia Michele Goldman said 12.1% of Canberrans had asthma and there were real health implications for the community when it came to bushfire smoke.

“This is a good opportunity place greater focus on the impact bushfire smoke has on your health and put forward approaches to mitigate this,” Ms Goldman said. “The more people who speak up the better informed the Plan will be.” She said smoke was a trigger for asthma flare-ups. “People and their families are seeking more notice to prepare and avoid exposure to bushfire smoke wherever possible.”

Asthma Australia will be submitting feedback during the consultation period with a focus on greater community preparedness and education about the health impacts of bushfire smoke for people with respiratory conditions.

Bush fire fighting

“The current alerts are great to know when a fire is happening but its smoke can traverse large distances. It’s this next step we’re looking for,” Ms Goldman said.

Members of the community with asthma are invited to share their firsthand experience on the health impacts of smoke and what would support them in the SBMP. The SBMP consultation draft is available to review here. The community can provide written comments to the Commissioner about the draft Plan from now until COB Tuesday 25 June 2019.

Comments on are to be addressed to: The Commissioner, ACT Emergency Services Agency, GPO Box 158, ACT 2601; or emailed to sbmphaveyoursay@act.gov.au