The following is an excerpt is from a contribution made in the Legislative Council yesterday by the Hon Stephen Dawson in response to this motion moved by Greens MP Hon Robin Chapple:
That the house notes the impact of climate change and give consideration to measures that may be introduced to ameliorate its damaging and long-term effects on Western Australia’s social, economic and environmental prosperity.
Hon STEPHEN DAWSON:
…I want to talk about climate change adaptation, which prepares us for climate change so that impacts, risks and costs can be minimised. I believe, as minister, that good climate change adaptation will help our state to continue to prosper and become more resilient. State agencies have already undertaken a range of adaptation initiatives and I want to mention a few of those. The Department of Parks and Wildlife has been implementing a range of on-ground practical programs for flora and fauna conservation and the management of conservation reserve system via forests. The department’s adaptive management approach allows changes in climate and other factors to be considered in continually improving such programs, and factors that provide resistance to climate change and promote recovery can be used to inform management.
It has also done some work in the better management of fire. For example, in the North Kimberley, the better management of fire has shifted the seasonality of fire from late to early dry season, which has reduced both the intensity and size of fires and thus reduced the impacts on biodiversity and carbon released into the atmosphere. On average, around 19 per cent less country is burnt by late fires and about 13 per cent more country is burnt early, and five per cent less country is burnt overall. Unashamedly, I add that although that work has been done in the Kimberley and it is reaping benefits, I am a supporter of prescribed burning. I know critics say we should not do it and it only adds to our emissions and worsens climate change, but I unashamedly say that we need to continue to prescribe burn in this state to keep our communities safe. For thousands of years in this state Aboriginal people have been involved in prescribed burning.
Hon Rick Mazza: Keep up the good work!
Hon STEPHEN DAWSON: Thank you, honourable member. Not everyone agrees with prescribed burning, but it does work and certainly we are able to do things differently in a number of places around the state that benefits the state.