The Question Without Notice below was asked by the Hon Dr Steve Thomas MLC and answered today by the Hon Stephen Dawson MLC representing the Emergency Services Minister Hon Fran Logan MLA.
VOLUNTEER BUSH FIRE BRIGADES — MERGER
Hon Dr STEVE THOMAS to the minister representing the Minister for Emergency Services:
I refer to the apparent push by the City of Busselton to force the merger of the Yallingup Coastal Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade and the Dunsborough Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade.
(1) Does the City of Busselton have the power and authority to force the merger of these two brigades?
(2) If yes to (1), under what legislation or regulation does that authority come?
(3) Does the government support the forced merger of these brigades?
(4) Does the government support the forced merger of any volunteer brigades in the state?
(5) If yes to (4), which ones?
Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied:
I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.
(2) Local government is responsible for establishing, maintaining and equipping bush fire brigades, and has the power to cancel the registration of bush fire brigades under the Bush Fires Act 1954. Section 41(1) provides — For the purpose of carrying out normal brigade activities a local government may, in accordance with its local laws made for the purpose, establish and maintain one or more bush fire brigades and may, in accordance with those local laws, equip each bush fire brigade so established with appliances, equipment and apparatus. Section 41(3) provides — A local government may at any time cancel the registration of a bush fire brigade.
(3)–(5) The establishment or cancellation of a bush fire brigade is the decision of local government; however, the state government and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services expect all local governments to consult meaningfully and work closely with their emergency response units for the protection of life and property and the wellbeing of the general community. DFES will always provide advice and work collaboratively with any local government, bush fire brigade or key stakeholders as required, particularly when it involves bushfire response coverage or the location of facilities.