Remote area firefighters prepared and ready for summer

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management

Remote area firefighters prepared and ready for summer

30 October 2021

Tasmania’s team of remote area firefighters are continuing to prepare for the upcoming Bushfire Season, with a preparedness day taking place in Campbell Town today.

The preparedness day brings together the remote area firefighting volunteers from across the three regions of the state for the first time, and involves team building and skills maintenance.

These firefighters are equipped with the skills to work in Tasmania’s remote wilderness areas, to protect our iconic natural assets and to stop bushfires before they impact our cities, towns and critical infrastructure.

The specialist team has been bolstered ahead of the upcoming season, and we now have more than 140 Remote Area Firefighters ready to fight fires in our remote and isolated areas.

The 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.

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

Bushfire recovery supporting local jobs

Minister for Parks

Bushfire recovery supporting local jobs

28 October 2021

Following the devastating 2018-19 summer bushfires, infrastructure recovery works undertaken by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service funded by the Tasmanian and Australian Governments have been a key economic driver across a range of sectors in regional and remote areas including construction, transport, retail and have supported an estimated 39 full-time jobs.

The Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service identified the need to rebuild and repair over 117 kilometres of walking tracks, 119 kilometres of roads, many bridges and other assets which had been damaged or destroyed during the bushfires.

Jointly funded by the Tasmanian and the Federal Government’s Community Recovery Fund, this $8.3 million reconstruction program has worked with 24 Tasmanian businesses who supplied materials including treated timber, metal plates, chicken wire, bugle screws, gravel, fibre-reinforced polymer sheeting and tent platforms.

I’d also like to acknowledge the PWS employees and transport operators who have been a critical link in our supply chain, ensuring the delivery of these materials to the remote track work teams in the TWWHA in Tassie’s infamous “four seasons in one day” weather.

This includes delivering over 5000 metres of timber planking, 20 bridges, and approximately 4000 steps and 400 water bars to the three teams completing the rebuild of the Lake Judd and Mt Anne tracks.

In the two years since the bushfires, a number of iconic tracks in the fire affected areas have already reopened including Lake Rhona and Farmhouse Creek, with the much anticipated Mt Anne Circuit due to reopen soon.

The Eastern Arthur Range Traverse – between Hanging Lake and Cracroft Plains – and the Western Arthur Range Traverse north/east of West Portal are undergoing critical works, and are expected to reopen in autumn next year.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government’s investment in restoring the infrastructure of some of our most iconic remote area bushwalks following these devastating bushfires is a clear demonstration of our support for our regional communities, local businesses and local jobs.

Building the new Sorell Emergency Services Hub

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management 

Building the new Sorell Emergency Services Hub

21 October 2021

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is delivering on its commitment to build contemporary and fit-for-purpose facilities for our police and emergency services, as part of our plan to keep Tasmanians safe.

Tasmanian company Fairbrother Pty Ltd has been awarded the contract to build the Emergency Services Hub at Sorell, following a recent request for tender process.

Located in Sorell on a greenfield site at 47 Cole St, this $12 million project will accommodate Tasmania Police, Tasmania Fire Service and the State Emergency Service in one central location for the South East region.

I’m pleased to note that this exciting development represents the first in Tasmania to accommodate these key services within a shared purpose-built complex.

As the South East region, and Sorell in particular, is one of Tasmania’s fastest growing areas, this project will provide the community with bolstered emergency services capability now and into the future.

The site itself is ideal for shared emergency services purposes, as it is centrally located and provides plenty of space and easy access for emergency response vehicles and personnel.

I would like to thank the Sorell Council for providing the land to support this important community facility, which will sit alongside other community services, including the Sorell Council Chambers, the health centre, the RSL, the Lions Club and the men’s shed.

The Sorell Emergency Services Hub is scheduled for completion in December 2022.

PFAS Blood Testing Program announced for Tasmania Fire Service

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management

PFAS Blood Testing Program announced for Tasmania Fire Service

16 October 2021

The Tasmanian Government welcomes the announcement of the Chief Officer, that the Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) will initiate a voluntary PFAS Blood Testing Program.

The TFS will develop an implementation plan for the Blood Testing Program which will be led by the Deputy Chief Officer.

The implementation plan will be developed in conjunction with staff and volunteer representative groups, including unions and volunteer associations.

The management of PFAS is a priority for the Tasmanian Government, and while we recognise that the current national health advice is that PFAS blood tests have no diagnostic or prognostic value, we know that our firefighters want to have the option of blood testing to understand the levels of PFAS in their blood.

Implementing blood testing is another measure to prioritise the health, well-being, and safety of our firefighters. Importantly, the Government has already transitioned away from the use of PFAS foams and, together with the TFS, we’ll continue to work with environmental consultants who provide expert advice, undertake ongoing testing and determine remediation strategies.

Search is on for new Tasmanian Wilderness Rangers

Minister for Parks

Search is on for new Tasmanian Wilderness Rangers

16 October 2021

The Tasmanian Government is looking for new Wilderness Rangers to help protect our National Parks and improve the visitor experience for walkers.

A recruitment campaign is underway by the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service to employ rangers who will provide education and advice to walkers on some of our State’s most remote multi-day walks within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area this summer.

The Wilderness Rangers, previously known as Track Rangers, will play an important role in keeping the walking community safe as well as enriching the overall visitor experience.

The rangers will be based in remote locations throughout the TWWHA, including Lake Rhona and the Walls of Jerusalem, along with soon-to-be-reopened overnight walking tracks at Mt Anne Circuit, Eastern Arthurs, and Western Arthurs.

The Wilderness Ranger program has been expanded this year to enhance walker safety and knowledge, particularly around Leave No Trace principles.

Additionally, the rangers will share the natural and cultural heritage values of these irreplaceable wilderness areas with walkers.

They will also help visitors understand why a voluntary overnight walker registration system is now in place to protect these fragile remote bushwalking environments.

The rangers will be deployed on more walks and for longer during the peak walking season to ensure full coverage on these remote walks.

In recent years, rangers have identified that some walkers are unaware of Leave No Trace principles, which can lead to impacts on vegetation, new campsites being formed, trail braiding (which creates a path next to a designated trail due to people walking off track) and inappropriate toileting.

With unprecedented demand for Tasmania’s National Parks and Reserves, even during COVID-19, the team of Wilderness Rangers will be out in the field and ready to greet and assist walkers during the peak walking season from December 2021 to April 2022.

More information about the Wilderness Ranger program can be found online at: www.jobs.tas.gov.au

Volunteers help preserve Maria Island convict buildings

Minister for Parks

Volunteers help preserve Maria Island convict buildings

12 October 2021

The Tasmanian Government highly values our built heritage and appreciates the hard work of volunteers and Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife staff in maintaining these buildings.

In a joint effort, volunteers worked alongside PWS staff within the Darlington precinct on Maria Island National Park to limewash the 1825-1850s buildings as part of ongoing maintenance work.

Limewash is often used as a decorative finish and is the basis of mortars, plasters and renders for older buildings in Tasmania. Specific directions on limewash and lime slaking were followed by the group.

Maria Island National Park is a special place for Tasmanians and visitors alike, with the location having the unique combination of nature and history.

The contributions from PWS volunteers at Maria Island National Park and across our parks and reserves in Tasmania provides assistance in the protection and conservation of our National Parks.

Thank you to all of the volunteers and staff who were involved in this five-day effort to ensure these beautiful historic buildings are maintained for visitors to explore.

I encourage visitors and Tasmanians to visit Maria Island National Park and be sure to visit the newly transformed convict buildings while you are there.

For more information about Maria Island National Park visit the PWS website:  https://parks.tas.gov.au/explore-our-parks/maria-island-national-park

Delivering on our commitment to review the Fire Service Act 1979

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management

Delivering on our commitment to review the Fire Service Act 1979

12 October 2021

As part of the Tasmanian Liberal Government’s plan to keep Tasmanians safe, we recently commenced consultation on the development of a new contemporary Fire Service Act 1979.

The consultation includes the release of the Review of the current Act which was undertaken by Mr Mike Blake (the Blake Fire Service Act Review).

Today we are releasing the Department of Treasury and Finance Options Paper (the Options Paper) that relates to the 16 Financial Management Recommendations that are outlined in the Blake Fire Service Act Review.

The Tasmanian Government wants to ensure that fire and emergency services in Tasmania are funded in an equitable, transparent, and sustainable way which is why we are now inviting Tasmanians to review the Options Paper and to have their say on potential future funding models.

To allow all Tasmanians to review both documents in detail and to make submissions, we are extending the consultation period for the Blake Fire Service Act Review and the Treasury Options Paper to Monday 6 December 2021.

As previously announced, Mr Michael Stevens, an experienced policy professional who undertook the role of Bushfire Recovery Coordinator for the devastating Bushfires in 2013 and 2019, is leading the next stage of this important body of work.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government will continue to deliver on our commitment to keeping Tasmanians safe, and we will continue to invest to ensure bushfire safety and prevention.

The consultation documents can be found at www.dpfem.tas.gov.au