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More Bushfire Summits needed for adequate regional input

For more information, contact Terry Redman (Member for Warren-Blackwood).

Member for Warren-Blackwood, Terry Redman, expressed his disappointment over the limited number of regionally based attendees invited to the Bushfire Mitigation Summit held in Mandurah.

Mr Redman said he was surprised and astounded that many bushfire brigades in his electorate were not invited to the McGowan Government’s ‘once off’ Bushfire Summit.

“Bushfire mitigation strategies and the proposed regional fire service are very important issues that have serious consequences for communities in the South West.  I would have thought Bushfire Brigades in this area would be invited to contribute to such significant issues,” Mr Redman said.

Under questioning in the Upper House last week, the Minister for Emergency Services, Hon Fran Logan said there were 66 attendees invited to the Mandurah Summit.

Mr Redman responded that “this is a disappointing number considering there are 579 Bushfire Brigades, 92 Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services and 108 regional Local Governments.”

In response to a further Parliamentary question Minister Logan said those that were invited had ‘skin in the game’.

Mr Redman said, “I make the point that every one of those bushfire brigades, volunteer fire and rescue services and local governments has skin in the game.  These are the people that need to be providing input to emergency services management, but are not being included in the discussion.”

Mr Redman said that whilst he thought the Summit was a valuable discussion for those who attended, he was disappointed that out of the 66 attendees, 15 were Members of Parliament and 20 were Government agency representatives.

“This is hardly a good demonstration of accountability from a new government on such a critical issue following the Waroona, Margaret River and Northcliffe fires,” Mr Redman stated.

Mr Redman hoped that similar summits would be held around the State otherwise volunteer fire fighters are in for a difficult time if this limited consultative effort is a measure of things to come.