The Tasmanian Greens today marked Bushfire Awareness Day and called on Emergency Services Minister Jim Cox to explain why the Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) is currently unable to provide training for a number of Fire Abatement Officers employed by local Councils around Tasmania.

Greens emergency Services spokesperson Tim Morris MP said at least two Councils in southern Tasmania are unable to get any response from the TFS in regards to training their Fire Abatement Officers, leaving one of the Councils without any trained Fire Abatement Officers in a year where the weather patterns are frighteningly similar to those in the lead up to Tasmania’s terrible 1967 bushfires.

Mr Morris also queried whether the Bartlett Government’s budget cutbacks were responsible for inability of the TFS to provide adequate training for Fire Abatement Officers.

“The TFS has responsibility for training Council-employed Fire Abatement Officers but is currently unable to do so, and the Greens want to see this problem remedied immediately,” said Mr Morris.

“Our weather this year has been eerily similar to that experienced in late 1966, and at this crucial time Tasmanians need their fire service to be properly resourced so that it can carry out all of its required activities, including training Council Fire Abatement Officers.”

“If these problems are a result of the Bartlett Government’s budget cutbacks then the Minister needs to realise that Fire Abatement Officers are frontline public servants, and their ability to do their crucial job should not be hamstrung by the Bartlett Government’s budgetary woes.”

Mr Morris also said that the Greens appreciate the year-round work and efforts of Tasmania’s fulltime and volunteer firefighters, and will always fight for adequate funding for these essential emergency service workers, in line with the commitment the Greens obtained from Premier Bartlett, that firefighters would be considered as a frontline service.
Tim Morris MP Greens Emergency Services Spokesperson