Michael Ferguson, Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management
Grubby political point scoring from Labor and the AWU today is not supported by the facts and is designed to create undue anxiety in the community around our firefighters response to the ongoing bushfire situation around the state.
There was a comprehensive, multi-agency response to the fires and any resource requested by our firefighting experts was made available by government.
The Government has, and will always, follow the advice of actual, proven professionals when it comes to fighting bushfires. Our firefighters have done, and are doing, an excellent job which is demonstrated by the level of success they have had protecting both life and property. We all owe them our thanks, not opportunistic politicking.
We’ve already said on numerous occasions that a proper review will occur once all fires are out. Yet while fires are still going, Rebecca White has chosen to once again try and score political points to distract from her policy crisis.
Hundreds of firefighting personnel from the Parks and Wildlife Service, Tasmania Fire Service and Sustainable Timber Tasmania have worked together to combat bushfires around the State. They have also been supported by over 1600 firefighting personnel from interstate and New Zealand.
The Parks and Wildlife Service has 180 fire trained staff, in excess of 80 of whom are remote area accessed trained. The Tasmania Fire Service has 305 career firefighters and up to 5,000 volunteer firefighters which can be deployed to fight bushfires.
The Tasmania Fire Service also deployed in excess of 40 water bombing and intelligence-gathering aircraft from across the State and the country.
To prepare for the bushfire season, the Government made a record $55 million investment in our targeted Fuel Reduction Program – one of the biggest failings of the former Labor-Green Government – which burnt the equivalent of over 40,000 football fields around the state. And following the 2016 report the Government has also invested $4 million to improve bushfire management in the wilderness area.
Labor’s behaviour now sees them joining the Greens in point scoring on bushfires and criticising those who are still fighting fires.