This makes Britain's Cressida Dick look efficient. Cressida only killed one innocent Brazilian electrician on the London underground
FORMER Victoria Police chief Christine Nixon has admitted she went home at 6pm on Black Saturday to go out for dinner with friends after she was told of the likelihood of deaths in the bushfires.
The Herald Sun reports her exit from the control centre was about five minutes after she was briefed about the possibility of loss of life from what became the worst bushfires in the state's history.
The former Victoria Police chief yesterday was questioned at the bushfires Royal Commission in her first appearance since the disaster, which claimed 173 lives on February 7 last year.
Asked who was in charge after she went home, Ms Nixon admitted it was still her job. "I wasn't in the premises, but I was still clearly in charge," she said.
Ms Nixon told the commission she had a meal and monitored radio, websites and took calls and text messages as the disaster unfolded. But last night she clarified her movements to the Herald Sun, saying she went home and then to a North Melbourne bistro for dinner with her husband and three friends and returned home later.
Ms Nixon, who was paid almost $380,000 a year as chief commissioner, was appointed to chair the Victorian Bushfire Recovery and Reconstruction Authority just four days after Black Saturday.
In evidence yesterday, the commission also heard:
MS Nixon did not speak to Premier John Brumby at all on Black Saturday.
SHE left an assistant commissioner to brief Police Minister Bob Cameron.
SHE did not consider declaring a state of disaster on the night of Black Saturday, despite the emerging numbers of deaths and loss of homes.
SHE did not request an updated briefing of the situation facing Victoria on returning to the Integrated Emergency Control Centre at 3pm, because "I didn't need to waste their time by getting another briefing."
SHE did not check whether adequate warnings were being given to towns lying in the path of the fires, because she had "assumed fire authorities had done so".
But Ms Nixon did admit she should have done better. She told the commission her husband had driven her from her office to the Integrated Emergency Control Centre at 3pm, where it was apparent the fires were escalating. Asked by counsel assisting the commission, Rachel Doyle, SC, if it was enough for the chief commissioner to assume that warnings were being given, Ms Nixon agreed it wasn't.
She said it was an "extraordinarily intense time" but said that was not an excuse. "There should have been a follow-up, and I should have done it," she said.
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