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.

Fire Service Act consultation commences

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency

Fire Service Act consultation commences

26 August 2021

Consultation has now commenced on the development of a new contemporary Fire Service Act 1979 as part of the Tasmanian Liberal Government’s plan to keep Tasmanians safe and our commitment as outlined in our First 100 Day Plan.

The current Act is now 42 years old, and we want to ensure that the Tasmania Fire Service is underpinned by contemporary legislation that reflects the service delivery that is expected by the community now and into the future.

Significant work has already been undertaken on a new Act through a review of the Act by Mr Mike Blake and the House of Assembly Standing Committee Inquiry into the State Fire Commission.

The Blake Fire Service Act Review includes 45 Recommendations for reform, and Tasmanians are now invited to have their say on the recommendations to ensure we have an accountable, flexible and responsive fire and emergency service.

I am pleased to announce that Mr Michael Stevens, an experienced policy professional who undertook the role of Bushfire Recovery Coordinator for the devastating Bushfires in 2013 and 2019, will lead the next stage of this important body of work.

As the Review also made 16 Financial Management Recommendations, the Department of Treasury and Finance will release a separate Options Paper on potential funding models to ensure that fire and emergency services in Tasmania are funded in an equitable, transparent and sustainable way.

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

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

New Chief Officer of the Tasmania Fire Service

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management 

New Chief Officer of the Tasmania Fire Service

1 July 2021

Following an extensive recruitment process, I am pleased to announce that Mr Dermot Barry has been appointed as the new Chief Officer of the Tasmania Fire Service and will commence on 2 August this year.

Mr Barry brings more than 35 years of emergency management experience in operation and senior executive roles, most recently as the Deputy Chief Officer of the South Australian State Emergency Service.

Before that, Mr Barry was Managing Director of Worldwide Public Safety at Microsoft in the USA; he practised as a Barrister/Solicitor at an Adelaide law firm and has almost 20 years of experience as a professional firefighter with South Australia Metropolitan Fire Service, where he achieved the rank of Assistant Chief Fire Officer.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government has a plan to keep Tasmanians safe, and I am confident Mr Barry will continue this important work as he takes on the new role.