Ensuring Tasmania is bushfire ready
- 18 Nov, 2019
Mark Shelton, Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management
The Hodgman majority Liberal Government is committed to ensuring the safety of Tasmanians and their property this bushfire season.
We are doing this by strategically reducing the bushfire risk across the state and investing in the Tasmania Fire Service.
Today, I visited the site of the 440ha Turners Marsh fuel reduction burn, which has been recently completed, mainly on private land, to provide increased protection to the community as well as critical power and transport infrastructure.
The spring 2019 fuel reduction season has seen 20 strategically located burns conducted over 3,350 hectares to date and over the past five years of the program 608 fuel reduction burns have been undertaken across the state covering 86,294 hectares.
We know from recent bushfires how quickly they can spread, and there are a number of examples, like Zeehan, St Marys and Scamander, where fuel reduction burns directly benefited communities by preventing fires from starting or spreading.
While we can never be complacent, analysis conducted after the last summer bushfires shows that the state-wide relative risk has been reduced to 83.8 per cent, which is the lowest it has been in 15 years.
Additionally, under the Hodgman majority Liberal Government, we have more career TFS firefighters now than we have had at any time over the last 10 years. 15 trainee firefighters have recently graduated and have been posted to stations around the State, taking numbers to 322 career firefighters. We also have a further recruitment course underway with another 13 Tasmania Fire Service recruits undertaking training to become career firefighters.
It is also extremely disappointing Labor and the Greens continue to make false statements about Tasmania’s capability regarding remote area fires. The fact is that between Parks and Wildlife (the first responder for remote fires), Sustainable Timber Tasmania and the Tasmanian Fire Service there are currently 179 Remote and Arduous Trained firefighters on standby, and this will increase by 30 at the end of the month.
In total Tasmania has more than 5670 firefighters currently on standby, we will have 7 firefighting aircraft in the state on standby on December 1 and the contracts are now in place to call on 36 aircraft from across Tasmania, and we have invested more than $13.1 million in new fire trucks and advanced technology.
We also need Tasmanians living in rural areas or near bushland to reduce their risk. The TFS recommends that you clear vegetation 30m from buildings, clean out gutters, identify an evacuation route and write down a fire plan with your family.
There is certainly potential for Tasmania to have a challenging bushfire season which is why the Hodgman majority Liberal Government fully supports and is investing in the TFS and our volunteers and emergency services, meaning the state is better prepared for bushfires than ever before.