The ACT government has been unable to secure disaster recovery funding from the Commonwealth to help restore the fire-ravaged Namadgi Park, the royal commission has been told.
Without it, it may be difficult to help the national park recover in a way that will make it resilient to future fires.
More than 80 per cent of the park burned in the Orroral Valley fire in January and February.
The fire was sparked by the landing light of a Defence helicopter, which had been tasked with bringing in a crew to clear key spots in the national park for staging points, in case lightning strikes high in the range started a fire.
No properties were lost in the ACT although one business was damaged. However precious Aboriginal cultural sites were destroyed.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr told the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements in an April 29 letter that despite efforts to limit the loss of wildlife and sensitive sites in the park, the ecological and environmental damage was extensive.
"Protecting the National Park including the Cotter River catchment, ACT's primary water supply, from further damage and supporting its recovery will be a significant and expensive task that will need to be undertaker jointly with the Australian government," Mr Barr wrote.
In a response to a notice to give information to the commission, Justice and Community Safety Directorate director-general Richard Glenn said activities associated with environmental recovery were not eligible under the Commonwealth's Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.
As a result, "the ACT may be constrained in its ability to build the park back better and make it more resilient to bushfires", Mr Glenn said.
The ACT's self-insurance arrangements also "made it unlikely to progress a claim under a Category B provision and therefore explore the build back better provisions", he said.
"The ACT views that there should be provisions for the Commonwealth and the states to work together on betterment, irrespective of whether the asset is an essential public asset or falls under the [scheme]," Mr Glenn said.
The ACT also told the commission it was creating a series of pre-approved relief and recovery measures for future natural disasters, such as fee and charge waivers. The measures would "better position the government to respond quickly and effectively to disasters".
The government also revealed it outsourced loan assessment and administration support to the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority in the aftermath of the fires because it had no mechanism to dole out the loans.
"It is relatively rare that natural disasters in the ACT require the activation of government-sponsored grants and loans.
"On this basis the ACT has placed a lower priority on the development of policy, systems and capability to support this if required."