The following Question Without Notice was asked by Ms Josie Farrer, Member for Kimberley and answered today by the Emergency Services Minister Hon Fran Logan MLA
Ms J. FARRER to the Minister for Emergency Services:
Can the minister update the house on how the McGowan Labor government’s record funding for bushfire mitigation is supporting local governments across Western Australia and helping to keep our community safe?
Mr F. LOGAN replied: I thank the member for Kimberley for that fantastic question.
It gives me a great deal of pleasure to follow on a little from the member for Mandurah in talking about local government.
Mr T. Redman interjected.
Mr F.M. LOGAN: I will come to the member in two seconds, and his questions in estimates. I will repeat what I actually said in estimates and hopefully that will clear it all up for the member for Warren–Blackwood, because he is a confused man.
He should remember that it has been this government, and only this government, that has put so much money into keeping our regional communities safe through bushfire mitigation. No other government in Western Australia has ever done that. The amount of money that has been put in to keep our colleagues, friends and families in regional Western Australia safe from bushfire has been done only by Labor. No other state government in Australia has poured that amount of money into bushfire mitigation, and the member for Warren–Blackwood knows that. As a regional member, instead of nitpicking, he should thank us on behalf of his community. We have put $80 million into regional Western Australia to keep the community safe, which includes the establishment of the Bushfire Centre of Excellence.
In terms of the mitigation itself, so far 940 activities —
Mr T. Redman: This sounds like Jonesy from Dad’s Army.
The SPEAKER: You are a very poor imitation of the Leader of the House.
Mr F. LOGAN: This is coming from Pike—you stupid boy!
So far, we have undertaken 940 fire mitigation activities across 27 local governments in regional Western Australia at a cost of $6.5 million. Over the 2019–20 period—the member for Warren–Blackwood should listen to this, because this is an explanation for him —
Mr T. Redman interjected.
Mr F. LOGAN: The member for Warren–Blackwood should just listen and it will be explained to him. Over the 2019–20 period, we are putting $11.1 million into bushfire mitigation through the mitigation activity fund, from the emergency services levy. The royalties for regions component of the mitigation activity fund is for use on crown land located within, adjacent to, or otherwise affecting a regional town site in WA. That funding will be $5.8 million over the 2019–20 period. This is the very point that the member for Warren– Blackwood raised in the estimates committee. I explained it to him, but for some reason he just could not understand it. The money comes from royalties for regions through the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, and then part of it is distributed by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services through to local governments. I explained that to
the member for Warren–Blackwood, but he just could not get it through his head. That is where the $5.8 million is coming from.
On top of that, we have put in place regional positions within local government to assist with bushfire risk mitigation planning and officers to assist local governments to apply those plans on the ground. I will outline the feedback from local government. Brian Piesse, shire president of the Shire of Donnybrook–Balingup, was reported as saying —
“This is what a State Government–Local Government partnership is all about,” …
“We are pleased to be a part of the 17 Local Governments to receive funding.”
That was last year. The Shire of Nannup president, Tony Dean, said the announcement of $476 500 for his shire was fantastic news. Shire of Esperance councillor Basil Parker said that it was a terrific initiative and a great step forward. He said —
“I … believe this is a great step and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services has come to the party with this money.
“This kind of mitigation funding is what will stop what happened in 2015 from happening again.”
That is how seriously local government takes mitigation activity funding. Unfortunately, only one party and one person is not taking this seriously, and that is the Nationals WA and the member for Warren–Blackwood.