Tasmania is at significant risk of bushfire due to the suspension of Remote Area firefighting Teams (RATS) because of concerns about breaches to the Work Health and Safety Act.
This comes the day after a damning report was released highlighting the Government’s failure to give the Teams the resources they needs to keep Tasmanians safe.
Shadow Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services, Shane Broad, said the Government had failed to adopt the recommendations of previous reports into serious bushfires, and it must act immediately to prevent future events.
“Labor understands that for some time the United Firefighter Union has been raising concerns about the safety of Remote Area Teams, but these concerns have not been taken seriously by the government,” Dr Broad said.
“If a fire in coming weeks from a lightning strike like we saw last summer, the Tasmanian Fire Service would not be able to send a Remote Area firefighting Team and control the fire before it gets out of hand.
“Tasmanian firefighters have a tough, dangerous job to do and we owe it to them to make sure they can come home safe and uninjured after working to protect life and property.
“Without them on the front-line, our remote and isolated towns, and beautiful wilderness are at real risk of fire.
“Today’s announcement that Remote Area Teams are suspended from work is an indictment on the leadership shown by Minister Shelton and failed former Minister Michael Ferguson.
“Minister Shelton must finally act to address these safety concerns so that firies can be ready to go in the event of an emergency.”
Shane Broad MP
Shadow Police, Fire and Emergency Services Minister