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Bushfire Management - Review and Recommendations

Parliamentary Activity - Tuesday, 9 April 2019, Rosalie Woodruff MP


Dr WOODRUFF question to MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, Ms ARCHER

Tasmanians have just endured a frightening and exhausting summer fighting massive bushfires. We have lost 6 per cent of our globally significant world heritage areas. We nearly lost several whole towns and communities. An El Niño is predicted for next summer and it is likely to make the summer of 2020 even hotter and drier than the last one we have endured.

The planet is staggering dangerously close to an uncontrollable climate tipping point. Despite this the minister's federal Liberal colleague, Josh Frydenberg, delivered a budget that denies the reality of climate change and the science that describes it. He talks about droughts and fires like they are an act of God. He has put no extra money at all into bushfire preparation or response to help protect the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area or Tasmanian communities.

Will you call out your federal colleagues for their failure to recognise the severe threat of climate change and to coordinate a national response to the increasing number of disasters that our volatile climate will bring?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question. I was ensuring that I had all the information available because this Government has done a lot in relation to bushfire preparation in a number of different ways. In the last session of parliament, I believe it was the Premier who addressed the House in question time about all the initiatives we have put into not only bushfire preparation but in relation to the last set of bushfires and the review that occurred and all the recommendations that have been implemented.

Dr Woodruff - You have no action on climate change.

Ms ARCHER - The member correctly addressed me as the Minister for the Environment - but the member took her time to realise I am the minister responsible for the Office of Climate Change within the Tasmanian Government, which sits in the Department of Premier and Cabinet, so it is my portfolio responsibility. We are doing a lot in relation to climate change -

Ms O'Connor - What are you doing? You want to log the high conservationvalue forests.

Ms ARCHER - If the members would like to hear my response I am quite prepared to say that since late 2018 we know that lightning strikes have ignited a number of bushfires causing damage to the TWWHA. This follows the significant bushfire events that we saw in 2013 and 2016, which also caused extensive damage to the TWWHA. We acknowledge that. That is why the Tasmanian Government is committed to protecting our wilderness world heritage area and we have made substantial investments in developing strategies, systems and tools for managing bushfire risk in that region. Following the fires that threatened the TWWHA in 2016 our Government committed $250 000 to the TWWHA bushfire and climate change research program.