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One Year After Devastating Fires, Sluggish Response from Hodgman Government

Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Friday, 13 January 2017

Tags: Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Bushfires, Parks

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens' Leader and Parks spokesperson

Today marks the grim one year anniversary of bushfires that threatened Tasmanian communities and caused irreparable damage to ancient wilderness landscapes, yet the Hodgman Liberal Government continues to starve the Parks and Wildlife Service of the funds it needs to undertake effective fire management.

Key recommendations of Dr Tony Press' December 2016 report on the TWWHA fires are to increase capital investment in facilities and equipment for all Tasmanian fire agencies, and to review capabilities and staffing in the Parks and Wildlife Service.

From 13 January to 15 March last year, dry lightning strikes sparked 145 fires that burned approximately 126 800 hectares across the State, including an estimated 19 800 ha (1.3%) of the TWWHA.

The report acknowledges that the risks of bushfire to the World Heritage Area will increase in coming years and the need to prepare for a future where fire management in the TWWHA is expected to be more challenging.

In their response to Dr Press' recommendations, Ministers Groom and Hidding make no mention of the critical role Parks and Wildlife plays in minimising fire risk and protecting wilderness assets from the increasing prevalence of climate related bushfires.

The Greens recognise the government has indicated it needs time to consider the full report before responding further. 

We'll be looking closely at the upcoming State Budget to determine whether this Liberal Government is prepared to invest in better protecting Tasmania's communities and natural assets from the increased threat of dry lightning fires.