The headlines from today’s Western Australian State Budget are all about increases in Gold Royalties and Payroll Tax but there are many more facts contained within the 1,000 or so pages in the 3 volumes that were released at 2:15pm today.
Here are just a few of interest to our members that we’ve found so far:
- There are no changes to the current structure of Emergency services promised in this budget. This is welcome and we thank the government for sticking to its word on this. The AVBFB is engaged with the Government regarding its promise to create a Rural Fire Service and we have publicly said we believe it is more important to get the structure right than rush into anything for the sake of political point scoring.
- There are no changes to ESL flagged, but there is a mention of the ERA report due in the next month that may provoke future changes.
- The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (formerly DPaW) had forecast the “proportion of planned Priority 1 prescribed burns” in 2016/17 to be 55% but only achieved 49%.
- The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (formerly DPaW) figures show it cost $15.70 per hectare to prescribe burn as opposed to more than twice as much ($33.04) per hectare to suppress bushfires.
- DFES notes that the role of bushfire mitigation has been identified “as an important element in reducing the impact of human, economic and social losses as a consequence of bushfires” and has secured $3,657,000 funding for bushfire risk management planning in the coming year
- The budget papers contain a line that reads “Drafting of the new Emergency Services Act is anticipated to commence in 2017-18″ which suggests the draft legislation developed over the last 3 years is redundant.
- DFES spent $18,772,000 last year on “Compliance and Technical Advisory Services”
- “Community Awareness, Education and Information Services” cost DFES $8,546,000 last year and it is estimated to cost $9,492,000 this year.
- DFES spent $100,103,000 ($18m over budget) on “Training and Organisational Resourcing Services” last year and plans has budgeted $98,000,000 for this every year for the next 4 years.
- $269,790,000 was spent on “frontline services” ($5M less than budgeted) last year and plans to spend even less ($266m) this year.
- The “Proportion of the Department’s operational volunteers actively engaged in Pathways training” was 39.2% last year, short of the target of 43%.
- The “Average Cost per Participant to Deliver Pathways Training” last year was $1,118
- DFES “employee benefits” were $203,071,000 last year and are estimated to go up to $210m this year.
- DFES received $340,883,000 from “Regulatory fees and fines” (mostly ESL) last year and plans to get $353,000,000 this year
- DFES budgeted $29,303,000 to distribute as “Local Government Emergency Service Grants” last year but actually distributed $34,141,000. This year the budgeted figure for distribution is a $30,906,000. (Note: This bullet point was changed after it was pointed out that it may have been misleading. We unreservedly apologise if this was unclear. For accountability, the following was the full first version: $34,141,000 was distributed in “Local Government Emergency Service Grants” last year and this year that number will be reduced by 9.5% to $30,906,000)