Time to remember our officers who have fallen in the line of duty

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services

Time to remember our officers who have fallen in the line of duty

29 September 2021

Tasmania Police are committed to protecting the community every day and often have to put themselves in challenging and dangerous situations to perform their duties.

Today is National Police Remembrance Day and ceremonies will be held in Tasmania and around the country to honour officers who have fallen in the line of duty.

Tasmania is a safer place because of our brave men and women at Tasmania Police and we stand in solidarity to honour the brave officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our community.

The Tasmanian Government is proud to support our police force and all Tasmanians are urged to take a moment today to appreciate and recognise the vital and often dangerous, work they do to keep us all safe.

Call to help protect vital shorebird habitat during breeding season

Minister for Parks

Call to help protect vital shorebird habitat during breeding season

29 September 2021

The Tasmanian Government is supporting calls from Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service to urge the beach-going community to help protect shorebirds during breeding season.

Beaches across Tasmania provide year-round habitat for a range of birds. Sadly, many of these birds are declining in numbers and are now threatened species, so providing them with the space to share our beaches is critical for their survival.

It is important to be aware of these vulnerable birds in the environment and to avoid disturbing them as much as possible at this critical time of their life cycle.

Breeding shorebirds lay well camouflaged eggs on dry sand in shallow nests called scrapes. Newly hatched chicks can’t fly and for up to a month can only run until they grow flight feathers.

Beach-goers can help protect this habitat by following some simple practices, such as walking only on the wet sand away from breeding areas, being cautious about bringing dogs onto a beach, making sure to follow signage about dog walking areas and keeping dogs away from dry sand areas. Taking vehicles onto beaches should also be avoided to minimise nest disturbance.

Education blitzes in recent years have seen success in places such as the Scamander River mouth Bird Sanctuary area, which is now a safe breeding zone for Little Terns, Fairy Terns, Hooded Plovers, Pied Oystercatchers and Red-capped Plovers.

The PWS will also team up with local councils to ensure people are doing the right thing. Beach-goers are reminded to check their local council website for information on where they can exercise dogs and what limits may apply.

Cultural Burning Program provides valuable insights

Minister for Parks and Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services

Cultural Burning Program provides valuable insights

28 September 2021

The Tasmanian Liberal Government recognises that Aboriginal cultural burning practices, undertaken for tens of thousands of years, have helped to shape the Tasmanian landscape that we know today.

Today I was privileged to attend a Cultural Burning Workshop that was undertaken by the South East Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation.  This workshop was an educational exercise, which was also attended by members of the Tasmania Fire Service and the Parks and Wildlife Service.

The Tasmanian community can greatly learn from Tasmanian Aboriginal people as a result of their deep connection with our land and landscape, including sophisticated land management practices such as cool burning and the important part this has played in Tasmania’s culture and history.

The TFS has responsibility for the state-wide Fuel Reduction Program, and today’s event is assisting to educate TFS personnel in Aboriginal cultural burning practices.

As part of the Tasmanian Government’s commitment to cultural burning in Tasmania, the Parks and Wildlife Service has employed three new Aboriginal cultural burning specialists including an Aboriginal Burning Project Officer, to support the development of policy and management of the program along with two specialist Aboriginal Fire Rangers to work with communities to identify potential cultural burn sites.

Recently, Parks and Wildlife Service Aboriginal Fire Rangers undertook the first cultural burn as part of this program at Dempster Plains in Tasmania’s remote North West. 

In addition, to the new Aboriginal Fire Ranger employee roles, the Government also committed $100,000 in grant funding to ensure the success and delivery of this important program.

The Cultural Burning Grant Funding is to support burning related activities, with funds going towards the provision of equipment, the cost of travel to attend burn locations, along with funding to support cultural burning training.

Ten grant applications of a maximum of $10,000 each have been approved to:

·   The Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania, who were successful in securing 3 grants;

·   The Karadi Aboriginal Corporation, securing 2 grants;

·     The melythina tiakana warrana Aboriginal Corporation, with 1 grant;

·    The South East Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation securing 2 grants; and

·   The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre with 2 grants.

The Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service is also working closely with Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania to collaborate with Aboriginal fire practitioners and Tasmanian Aboriginal people to develop a PWS Cultural Burning Policy for Tasmania.

We recognise the rich cultural and environmental understanding of Tasmanian Aboriginal people and the importance of re-establishing cultural burning practices in Tasmania as part of our overall fire management strategy. The Cultural Burning Program is a first for Tasmania and the Government will ensure collaboration and continuing engagement with Tasmanian Aboriginal people to deliver cultural land management practices as a pathway towards achieving joint land management.

Remote Area Firefighters undertake training in preparation for bushfire season

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management

Remote Area Firefighters undertake training in preparation for bushfire season

25 September 2021

This weekend the Tasmania Fire Service is undertaking a training program for our career and volunteer remote area firefighters to ensure that they are upskilled and ready for the upcoming Bushfire Season.

Remote Area Firefighters are trained to fight fires in remote and inaccessible environments that are not accessible by fire appliances.

The firefighters will take part in training of remote area safety systems, bushfire fighting and how to use specialist firefighting equipment like firefighting pumps and hoses.

This Government introduced the Volunteer Remote Area Firefighting Program in 2018, and has provided $2.3 million to support the TFS with management, training and equipment to develop its volunteer and career remote firefighting capability. By the end of October this year, we will have in excess of 140 trained remote area firefighters.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is taking action to keep Tasmanians safe, and we will continue to invest to ensure bushfire safety and prevention.

PWS getting ahead of the fire season

Minister for Parks

PWS getting ahead of the fire season

22 September 2021

The Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) is preparing for the upcoming bushfire season with an extensive planned burn program underway as part of the Tasmanian Liberal Government’s plan to keep Tasmanians safe.

Two PWS firefighting crews have already undertaken intensive winch training this year to tackle remote fires, and other staff involved in firefighting efforts will be conducting preparedness activities over the next few weeks.

The fire management staff, fire crews, field staff and incident management teams who assist with firefighting each summer are participating in these specialised training sessions.

PWS is responsible for more than 50 per cent of the state’s land area and the PWS is taking the necessary steps to ensure it maintains its capability to respond to fire on the three million hectares of reserve land the service manages.

We know how easily fire can spread, so ensuring staff are prepared and ready to respond quickly and safely is our number one priority.

Large, complex fire incidents are managed by Incident Management Teams in accordance with the nationally recognised Australasian Inter-service Incident Management System.

The PWS works closely with its program partners, including the Tasmania Fire Service, Sustainable Timber Tasmania, local government and private land owners to deliver the State-wide Fuel Reduction Program, and to respond to large bushfires.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is dedicated to keeping Tasmanians safe, and proactively ensuring that we are ready for the upcoming bushfire season is key to delivering on our commitment.

National Thank A Cop Day

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services

National Thank A Cop Day

19 September 2021

This week is Police Week, and today is National Thank A Cop Day – I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our current and past serving officers for the important work that they do in our community.

Tasmania Police work hard every day throughout the year to keep Tasmanians safe, and their bravery is to be commended, whether it is fighting crime, undertaking rescues or attending road emergencies.

Our police officers make many sacrifices, they are often called upon to selflessly put themselves in challenging situations, to be away from their families during important milestones, all for the sake of assisting and helping people that they do not know.

They are committed and dedicated to serve and protect our community.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is a strong supporter of our police, with significant investments into supporting officers in rural and remote Tasmania, our Health and Wellbeing program, upgraded police housing, new and upgraded police stations, and we are recruiting an additional 308 police officers to take Tasmania Police to its highest ever establishment.

Please take a moment to show your appreciation to our police officers for their commitment to protect and serve – at all times of the day or night and in all conditions, they are there for us.

Tender released for $3.6 million Southern Special Operations Group facility

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management

Tender released for $3.6 million Southern Special Operations Group facility

18 September 2021

The Tasmanian Liberal Government has a plan to keep Tasmanians safe which is why we are investing $3.6 million in the 2021-22 Tasmanian Budget to build a southern-based Special Operations Group (SOG) facility.

The Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management has today released the Request for Tender for the Southern SOG facility, which will be open from 18 September until 19 October 2021.

SOG officers are highly trained and equipped to respond to a wide range of security situations, and can be deployed during high-risk policing incidents in response to security threats or to support criminal investigations.

This investment builds on the $8.9 million announced in last year’s Budget to employ an additional 20 SOG officers over four years, and an investment of $1 million to build a purpose built SOG facility in the North.

In the short term, the additional officers will support Tasmania’s COVID-19 response capacity in areas such as quarantine checking, compliance and assessment, which are critical services in helping to keep our community safe.

Pest Eradication Program marks 10-year milestone

Minister for Parks

Pest Eradication Program marks 10-year milestone

17 September 2021

The Tasman Island Pest Eradication Program has reached a major milestone, marking 10 years since the island was declared free from feral cats.

The successful program to eradicate feral cats from the 120-hectare island began in 2008 with a plan to help restore the island’s natural values and was completed in 2009.

Baiting on the island was undertaken on 3 May 2010, followed by trapping and hunting, with the last of the island’s feral cats trapped on 15 May 2010.

A year of intensive monitoring followed using cameras, detector dogs and volunteers searching for signs of cats.

Before the success of this program, feral cats were killing between 30,000 and 60,000 fairy prions per year, along with a significant number of short-tailed shearwaters.

Monitoring of short-tailed shearwater burrows indicates the population has more than doubled to an estimated 15,000 pairs since the feral cats were removed 10 years ago.

It is likely the fairy prion population has also doubled to around 1 million pairs, with evidence of increased breeding activity indicating significantly more chicks fledging compared to when cats were present.

It is wonderful to see this dramatic increase of sea birds on the island, which is expected to continue to increase going forward since the feral cats’ removal.

I congratulate the staff and volunteers of the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service for this magnificent achievement and for their ongoing work to ensure the island remains feral cat free.

I also thank Pennicott Wilderness Journeys for their inspiring contributions and significant funding donations to Wildcare which enabled this outstanding project to get off the ground. Well done all for this significant milestone.

Celebrating 50 years of the Police Vessel Vigilant

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management

Celebrating 50 years of the Police Vessel Vigilant

17 September 2021

The Tasmania Police vessel Vigilant is celebrating a momentous milestone marking 50 years since it first hit the waters to join the Tasmania Police vessel fleet.

Built by Tasmanian boat builder Ray Kemp in 1970 and completed in 1971, the PV Vigilant has a rich history and can often be seen patrolling waters across the State.

PV Vigilant played an integral role in the aftermath of the Tasman Bridge collapse, where it was used as a dive support vessel.

It was also used to search for the cargo ship Blythe Star when it was lost off Southwest Cape in 1973 and was involved in policing the Franklin River protests.

In 2006, the PV Vigilant towed the Lady Nelson to safety in Hobart when it had engine trouble in Storm Bay with a group of school children on board.

Whilst the Vigilant is still going strong, the Tasmanian Liberal Government is also investing $24.6 million to future proof police vessels for Tasmanian marine policing.

We recognise that our marine police officers undertake important roles in policing commercial and recreational marine activities.

The thirty-two police who are attached to Marine and Rescue Services statewide will soon have access to the brand new PV Dauntless, which will be operational before the end of this year.

50 years of continuous commercial operational service is a testament to the Vigilant’s design and construction, and we recognise the efforts of crew members and contractors who have managed and maintained the Vigilant to such a high standard.

Expanding Mole Creek Karst National Park

Minister for Parks

Expanding Mole Creek Karst National Park

16 September 2021

It’s my pleasure today to announce the Tasmanian Liberal Government’s intention to expand the beautiful Mole Creek Karst National Park to deliver better protection of the area’s unique limestone cave systems.

The expansion of the Mole Creek Kast National Park will occur through the reservation of an additional 2,850 hectares of land currently classified as Future Potential Production Forest land, and includes land known as Solomons Dome, which contains the catchment of the internationally significant Kubla Khan Cave.

The inclusion of these parcels of FPPF land will expand and consolidate what is currently a fragmented National Park, improving the natural values, protection and management efficiency within Mole Creek Kast National Park.

This process has involved significant public consultation, natural values assessments and a substantial body of work by the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment.

In addition, we are proposing that a further 22,550 hectares of FPPF land in the TWWHA be formally reserved as either conservation area, or regional reserve in accordance with the assessment of their natural values.

As many of these areas display evidence of past land use practices, reserving the remaining areas of FPPF Crown land as either conservation area or regional reserve is consistent with the requirements of the Nature Conservation Act 2002 and the management objectives for the TWWHA and will ensure these areas are appropriately protected.

Importantly, this proposal does not preclude the involvement of Tasmanian Aboriginal people in land management nor does it create additional barriers to land return in the future.

This proposal delivers on our commitment to reserve FPPF land within the TWWHA, and is a significant contribution to the Tasmanian Reserve Estate under the Nature Conservation Act 2002. Once reserved, the land will be managed in accordance with the TWWHA Management Plan.

The proposal will now go through the required statutory processes, including the approval of both Houses of Parliament.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government will continue to ensure that our special natural places are protected and presented in ways that allow people of all abilities to enjoy the natural and cultural values they contain.

More information can be found on the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment website.