Building fit-for-future fire and emergency services in Tasmania

Felix Ellis, Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management

The Rockliff Liberal Government is committed to keeping Tasmanians safe through investment in our fire and emergency services.

Tasmania has more volunteer firefighters per head of population than the national average, has a growing number of volunteers in emergency services and continues to face one of the most active fire landscapes in the country, a new report has found.

Today, the 2023 Report on Government Services – Fire and Emergency Services shows our investment is making a difference and this is recognised nationally.

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management, Felix Ellis, said Tasmania has 835 volunteer firefighters per 100,000 people in Tasmania, which is well above the national average of 750.

“Our 4,758 volunteer firefighters make Tasmanians immensely proud through their ongoing dedication to keeping Tasmanians safe from fire and other emergencies,” he said.

“Our volunteer numbers also continue to grow in the State Emergency Service, with 641 volunteers recorded in 2021-22.

“Through investments by this Government in new infrastructure such as the $12 million Sorell Emergency Services Hub, the opportunities to volunteer with our emergency services continues to grow.

“The community’s fire resilience also continues to grow through investment in education programs and campaigns, with a reduction in accidental residential structure fires.

“Tasmania now has its lowest rate of structural fires in the past 10 years. While there is always more to do to keep Tasmanians safe, this is excellent growth in understanding the risks of fire.

“Tasmanians should also be aware that our State is extraordinarily fire-prone and our bushfire service is one of the busiest in Australia, with the number of landscape incidents attended well-exceeding the national average.

“In 2021-22, Tasmania had a total of 136.7 landscape fire incidents attended per 100,000 people, compared to the national rate of 113.4 landscape fire incidents per 100,000 people.

“The Tasmanian Government is incredibly grateful for the significant work and contribution of all of our emergency services workers to keeping Tasmanians safe.

“As announced on 24 January, the Rockliff Liberal Government is committed to establishing fit-for-future fire and emergency services by merging the Tasmania Fire Service and the State Emergency Services and empowering senior leaders.

“Concerningly, the report again highlights that local government funding for the SES is inconsistent and unreliable, and leaving the service short.

“The annual funding for the SES decreased by $900,000 in 2021-22. This was the lowest revenue figure for the SES since 2012-13.

“The Government is finalising further reform as part of the 2023-24 Tasmanian State Budget process, which will deliver even greater support our fire and emergency services.”

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