The Government welcomes the final report into the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Bushfire and Climate Change Research Project, led by eminent researcher Dr Tony Press.
The Government is committed to protecting our iconic world heritage areas, which is why we committed $250,000 for this research project that examined both the impact of climate change in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) and ways to strengthen firefighting techniques for future bushfire events in the TWWHA.
The report confirms Tasmania has well-developed fire management procedures relating to bushfire prevention and protection for the TWWHA, and notes that Tasmania’s firefighting agencies have already implemented a number of changes ahead of the 2016-17 bushfire season.
It’s important to understand that fires within the TWWHA have happened before and the January event was not an isolated occurrence. The report notes that there have been at least 12 fires in or near the TWWHA since the 1930s, including a 40,000ha fire at Giblin Creek in 2013.
The report makes 18 recommendations, which are summarised as follows:
1. A fire management plan for the TWWHA with clear, well-defined objectives
2. Adopting the Bushfire Risk Assessment Model (BRAM) as a whole-of-government decision-support system
3. Clear objectives to be set for planned burns
4. Monitoring the consequences of fire
1. Establish an ongoing program of scientific research and monitoring within the TWWHA to monitor climate change
2. Research on fire vulnerability, fire behaviour and fire model inputs
3. Keep abreast of lightning and ignition detection technologies
4. Investment in facilities and equipment that enhance fire management capabilities in the TWWHA
1. Improved mapping of vegetation, soil and other natural and cultural values
2. Review immediate, medium and long-term fire suppression capabilities
3. Review the use of volunteers in supporting fire management activities
4. A regular review of operational practices, fire suppression technologies and techniques used elsewhere
5. Review future capability of aerial fire suppression
6. Continue research on fire suppression chemicals
7. Review the use of fire suppression chemicals
8. Develop a specific communications plan on bushfire and fire management
1. Establish protocols for ‘rapid assessment’ of the impacts of major bushfires in the TWWHA
2. Undertake trial post-bushfire rehabilitation techniques, especially for vulnerable species, communities and other significant values in the TWWHA
Importantly, the Government is already acting on a number of these recommendations and we will now carefully consider the full report before responding further.
Matthew Groom, Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage Rene Hidding, Minister for Police and Emergency Management