A Burning Issue-The Politicization of a Bushfire

November 1990 (VOL. 8, NO. 3)

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The stirling bushfire of 1980 produced the first substantial claim for disaster liability against a South Australian local authority. In the absence of precedent and clear rules of process this developed into a long and costly legal battle lasting nine years and then developed into a political conflict between the Council and the ruling Labor State government. The community is riven by discord about the terms of settlement. A positive outcome has been the establishment of a Local Government Association Mutual Liability Scheme which indicates the possibility of local government collaboration as an alternative to a state-local relationship with its concomitant conflict.