After five years of solid investment by the Hodgman Liberal Government in our Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management, this year’s State Budget is focussed on maintaining this momentum and investing for growth.
The Hodgman Liberal Government recognises the importance of community fire safety and flood mitigation which is why we are funding upgrades for equipment, infrastructure and strategic fuel reduction burns.
2019-20 State Budget is investing for growth with $13.1 million allocated for new medium tankers, heavy pumpers and aerial appliances as part of the Fire Fighting Appliances Replacement Program.
A total of $3.3 million is also available for the replacement and refurbishment of fire stations.
Our nation-leading strategic risk-based Fuel Reduction Program involves a whole-of-government approach and will maintain the current momentum with funding of $9 million per year.
In the first four years of the program, 533 fuel reduction burns were completed across the state, encompassing more than 63,752 hectares, of which 10,848 hectares was private land.
Local Government authorities will also be receiving emergency management planning and education support with $1.5 million over four years to allow the SES to employ Regional Emergency Management Planning and Development Officers.
While the final cost of this summer’s bushfire event is still being determined, $64 million has been allocated this financial year and, due to the state’s strong financial management, we are also able to allocate $10 million in the 2019-20 Budget to cover future costs associated with this event.
Additionally, following an application from the Tasmanian Government, about half of the cost of the fires is expected to be recovered through the Federal Government’s Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DFRA).
Throughout the summer Tasmania’s firefighters, emergency service personnel, volunteers and community organisations did an outstanding job protecting and supporting communities in the face of the largest fire event in Tasmania since 1967.
In recognition of our amazing volunteers, an injection of $2 million over four years began in 2018-19 and is being provided to volunteer Tasmania Fire Service brigades and State Emergency Service units to apply for non-essential equipment, training, recruitment and community engagement activities.
Following any major fire event there are always lessons to be learned and the best way for that to occur is through a robust, independent review, with input from experts.
The Hodgman Liberal Government has commissioned the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council, the peak body responsible for representing fire, emergency services and land management agencies, to undertake an independent review.
The review is being led by West Australian Mal Cronstedt AFSM, who has more than 40 years of experience in fire and emergency services. The final review is expected to be delivered to Government in coming months.