Emergency Services Minister Mick Gentleman says he hasn't read the damaging internal review into the handling of the summer bushfire season, two weeks after it was leaked and reported in the media.
Speaking publicly for the first time since The Canberra Times revealed the explosive allegations detailed in the Emergency Services Agency's so-called "after action review", Mr Gentleman said he couldn't and wouldn't comment on the claims because he hadn't read the report.
He has only seen the allegations as they were reported in the media.
But Mr Gentleman has again backed the agency and its commissioner Georgeina Whelan, reaffirming the written statement of support he provided to The Canberra Times when first questioned on the review earlier this month.
In their feedback to the review, ACT Rural Fire Service staff expressed concerns about the lack of planning for aerial firefighting operations, the mismanagement of resources and the absence of a policy to manage workloads.
Feedback from the review will be fed into a wider examination of the ACT government's response to the worst fire season since 2003, which is being carried out by new ESA Deputy Commissioner Ray Johnson.
Mr Gentleman has committed to releasing the full report once it is complete.
He said the media's reporting of the draft review had been discussed in routine meetings with senior agency officials in the past fortnight. But said he hasn't sought clarification or extra information on any of the allegations.
"They are going through a review process so it is not appropriate ... to break into the centre of the review process and offer comment," he said.
"I'll wait until they do their work and then I will have a look at the review."
Mr Gentleman said it was important the government learnt from the most recent fire season so it could make any necessary changes before the next one started.
He highlighted the fact that the ACT had managed to weather the "extraordinary" bushfire season without any loss of life or property in the territory.
"[I want to express] my overwhelming support for the work of our volunteers and our agency," he said.
"The Canberra community will echo my comments in saying that they did a phenomenal job."
Mr Gentleman spoke to the The Canberra Times after two NSW Rural Fire Service brigade captains spoke out about the "terrible" cross-border relationship with ACT agencies during one of the flashpoints of the summer emergency.
The captains claimed they weren't told when the Orroral Valley fire crossed the border into NSW, becoming the Clear Range fire. The fire destroyed 12 homes in NSW.
The ACT ESA and the NSW Rural Fire Service have maintained they were in constant communication throughout the fire emergency.
Mr Gentleman said the level of communication and support between the ACT and NSW was "absolutely fantastic" during the fire season. He noted that ACT volunteers had been deployed to fight fires in NSW for a combined 1100 days.
The level of collaboration between the two agencies wouldn't have been possible without strong lines of communication, he said.