The following Question without Notice was asked by the Hon Colin de Grussa and answered in Parliament yesterday by the Hon Stephen Dawson as Minister for Environment
Hon COLIN de GRUSSA to the Minister for Environment:
I refer to feedback that regional offices within the minister’s portfolio that have firefighting capacity have been asked to find significant savings.
(1) Can the minister confirm whether regional offices have been asked to find savings?
(2) If yes to (1), what savings have been requested?
(3) If yes to (1), what will be the impact on this summer’s fire mitigation and response effort?
(4) Is the minister not putting the safety of regional people at risk with these measures?
Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied:
I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.
(1)–(4) Community safety is of paramount importance. The McGowan Labor government is committed to ensuring the protection of our communities and considers that prescribed burning is the most effective risk mitigation activity for bushfires. The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions frontline firefighting capacity will not be impacted by savings measures. As with previous years, DBCA intends to employ the same number of conservation employees over the summer months to meet its fire management requirements for the south west forest regions. The McGowan Labor government has allocated an additional $5.5 million in the 2017–18 financial year to boost prescribed burning efforts.