NATIONALS Member for the South West Region, Colin Holt MLC, has welcomed the State Government’s announcement that it will support all 17 recommendations of the Special Inquiry into the January 2016 Waroona Fire by Euan Ferguson AFSM.
Mr Holt said many of the recommendations from the inquiry were already being implemented ahead of the 2016 bushfire season.
“It is important Western Australia is best placed to respond to fires which cause significant damage and destruction across in regional WA,” Mr Holt said.
Significantly, the State Government agreed to adopt a recommendation to establish a Rural Fire Service, either as an independent agency or sub-department within the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES).
“The State Government’s decision to consider the pros, cons and practicalities of establishing a Rural Fire Service is great news for regional WA,” Mr Holt said.
Mr Holt said the views of a wide range of relevant community groups will be canvassed at a forum this year. This will include relevant agencies such as the Department of Parks and Wildlife and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, local government, volunteer firefighters and the United Firefighters Unions of WA.
Mr Holt said work was also underway to address bushfire risk on Government-owned land thanks to an additional $15 million over four years thanks to Royalties for Regions.
“A key issue highlighted in the inquiry was the need for greater emphasis on the prevention and risk mitigation on Crown land, and the State Government has reacted quickly by allocating additional funding to this area ahead of the 2016-17 bushfire season,” Mr Holt said.
“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.”
The State Government also announced its intention to establish a new Office of Emergency Management (OEM), comprised of the State Emergency Management Committee Secretariat and the Office of Bushfire Risk Management.
For media enquiries please contact Office of Colin Holt MLC on (08) 9724 1181