Member for Central Wheatbelt Hon Mia Davies MLA said the State Government’s announcement to support all 17 recommendations of the Special Inquiry into the January 2016 Waroona Fire, by Euan Ferguson AFSM was good news.
Ms Davies said a number of the Ferguson Inquiry recommendations were already being implemented ahead of the 2016 bushfire season.
“Significantly, the State Government has agreed to adopt a recommendation to establish a Rural Fire Service,” she said.
“Local knowledge, experience and expertise in fighting bushfires is often the difference between containing a fire or it getting out of control.
“The State’s volunteer firefighters do an incredible job, and I am pleased that we will be moving toward a separate Rural Fire Service,” she said.
There will also be an independent review into the emergency services levy, focus on prescribed burning efforts around towns and the establishment of dedicated incident management teams to oversee major blazes ahead of time.
Both career and volunteer firefighters will receive identification cards and prescribed burning practices will change, while about 500 firefighting vehicles will be fitted with devices which can automatically transmit their location by December.
Member for the Agricultural Region Hon Martin Aldridge MLC, who is a former career and current volunteer firefighter, said Cabinet had also approved an extra $15 million to go towards prescribed burning, with more of an effort to reduce fuel loads on crown land.
“This increased funding will be available to State Government agencies responsible for, and adjacent to, regional townsites to ensure a more coordinated approach to risk mitigation on Crown land,” he said.
“WA has experienced several catastrophic fires in recent years and we need to continue to improve our response to reduce the chances of this happening again.”
To view the Waroona report visit – https://news.wa.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Government-response-to-Ferguson-Report-Online.pdf
For media enquiries please contact Mia Davies on 08 9041 1702 (Merredin office), 08 9622 2871 (Northam office) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.