Record $7.3 million to combat the threat of catastrophic bushfires

  • First use of expenditure announced under new $35 million DFES mitigation fund to treat bushfire risks on unallocated Crown land
  • $5 million funding support for local governments and agencies to treat bushfire risks
  • More support for local governments and communities with expansion of eight permanent DFES Bushfire Risk Management Planning officers

A record total of $7.3 million in bushfire management funding assistance will be delivered throughout Western Australia under the McGowan Labor Government.

As part of the funding assistance, 17 regional local governments and agencies will share in $5 million to physically address bushfire threats in their local communities.

$3.3 million will be allocated to regional local governments to carry out more than 410 bushfire mitigation treatments including planned burns, weed control, mechanical clearing, fire breaks and access roads.

Eligible regional local governments will be provided with $500,000 of funding later in the year, and nearly $1.2 million will be made available to other government agencies to treat bushfire risks in areas such as unmanaged Crown reserves.

This $5 million of funding assistance is part of the McGowan Labor Government’s inaugural $15 million Mitigation Activity Fund, which has already helped 15 local governments treat bushfire risks in their communities earlier this year.

Also announced was a further $1.2 million under the Department of Fire and Emergency Service’s new Rural Fire Division to treat bushfire risks on unallocated Crown land.

This is the first time that DFES has formally moved into preventative measures and is part of a record $35 million package over four years to treat bushfire risks on unallocated Crown land.

The expenditure will be spread throughout the State, and DFES regional officers will work with partners on a range of activities, including planned burning, weed control, mulching and fire breaks.

The McGowan Labor Government has also increased the capacity for local governments to identify their bushfire risks.

It has allocated $1.1 million to provide certainty of continuous employment for eight permanent DFES Bushfire Risk Management Planning officers.

These DFES officers will help local governments throughout Western Australia identify their bushfire risks through the development of Bushfire Risk Management Plans.

Once those plans are complete and have been endorsed by the Office of Bushfire Risk Management and approved by local governments, regional local governments may be eligible to apply for funding under the $15 million Mitigation Activity Fund to physically treat those risks.

As stated by Emergency Services Minister Francis Logan:

“This $3.3 million of mitigation funding for regional local governments will help to make communities safer as they deal with the almost ever-present threat of bushfires during the warmer periods.

“It is by identifying and treating bushfire risks that we can improve efforts at reducing catastrophic bushfires and make those fires that do occur hopefully more manageable.

“This is why the McGowan Labor Government has today announced a total $7.3 million in bushfire management funding to identify bushfire risks throughout regional WA as well as to physically treat those risks.

“The Department of Fire and Emergency Services has also embarked on a new era and is now an agency that no longer focuses on just response, but has moved into prevention, preparedness, response and recovery functions.

“For the first time, DFES will be co-ordinating mitigation of bushfire risks on unallocated Crown land through the Rural Fire Division and a $35 million mitigation fund.

“We are putting to the side whose responsibility mitigating those bushfire risks may be and simply getting on with the job of trying to improve community safety.

“But we must always remember that fire is a part of the Western Australia landscape, and we must all play a role, including local landowners, in trying to reduce the chances of inevitable fires becoming unmanageable.”

As stated by Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray:

“I am very pleased that the Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup and others in my electorate have taken up this funding opportunity and are working hard to reduce their bushfire risks.

“As those of us who live in the regions know all too well, fire is an ever-present threat during the warmer months and we have to try to reduce the threats where we can.

“This record funding through DFES’s new Rural Fire Division will help our local regional communities identify their bushfire risks and do something about them.

“I would encourage all local governments to put their Bushfire Risk Management Plans in place, have them endorsed and apply for support under the Mitigation Activity Fund.”

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