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Firefighting Details Hidden as Scorcher Summer Approaches

24 Sep 2019

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Police, Fire and Emergency Management spokesperson

The Minister for Police Fire and Emergency Management has again refused to detail the Government’s funding for critical bushfire defence actions, as recommended by the recent independent AFAC review.

We’re headed for a scorcher summer and Tasmanians are being kept in the dark.

Last week in Parliament, the Minister denied Tasmanians their right to know how much money he had directed to fund the extra firefighting capacity. This was resourcing the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Council review said was needed, to prepare for the bushfire season – which Tasmania is already in.

The World Meteorological Organisation has confirmed the last five years were the hottest on record, with a blazing hot and dry summer predicted for the already tinderbox dry East Coast.

Former Tasmania Fire Service chief, Mike Brown, warned at the Global Climate Strike last week that truly catastrophic fires were once in a generation, but are now an annual event. Bush-surrounded Hobart is at high risk, and Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds has confirmed “. . . it’s not a question of if we get a big fire, it’s when”.

These comments come on top of last summer’s catastrophic fires. What more do Liberals need to take action?

Tasmania Fire Service remote area teams are currently grounded and can’t be deployed to fight wilderness fires. This is a direct result of the government’s failure to prioritise risk management improvements outstanding from last summer.

The thousands of Tasmanians who marched for climate action last week are demanding the Hodgman Government shakes itself awake and dramatically responds to the threat before us all.

Minister Shelton must reveal what he’s done to protect Tasmanians. People need to know what resources are available to boost firefighting capacity, and to urgently deal with the issues preventing the deployment of remote area firefighters.