Australia — The Federal Member Eden Monaro, Dr Mike Kelly AM MP and the State Member for Monaro and NSW Minister for Emergency Services, Steve Whan have welcomed $168,000 from the Rudd Labor Government for the construction, maintenance and signage of bushfire trail networks across the region.
Amongst the immediate local areas that will benefit from fire trail maintenance funds are Bombala, which will receive $2,500, Bungarby with $7,500 and Delegate, which has been allocated $10,000.
Dr Kelly said he is delighted to receive this funding which will ensure our fire trail networks are kept in good working order.
The Bushfire Mitigation Program effectively brings together state suppression and land management agencies with local governments to combine resources to address the most critical fire trail works.
Bushfire mitigation work is a national concern that can only be achieved through a collaborative commitment by all levels of government and interaction with a wide range of agencies, Dr Kelly said.
Bushfires in Australia pose a major threat to life and property and the community rightly expects that governments will do all they can to prevent these risks.
During the recent bushfires I visited a number of areas affected by bushfires and heard first hand from the men and women who have been fighting these blazes.
The message was clear that having a good set of bushfire trails was imperative to being able to fight bushfires properly.
Bushfires, including the Wyndham fire, burn in difficult terrain and weather conditions and these improvements will go some way to making this tough job a bit easier.
We need to be making preparations for the next bushfire season now and I am particularly happy that our region will benefit with improvements worth $168,000 for the construction, maintenance and signage of bushfire trail networks, said Dr Kelly.
Mr Whan said the additional funding will assist fire agencies with works which can improve the protection to life and property from bushfires.
Mitigation works are an important part of preparing for the onset of bush fire season each year. These works include the construction and maintenance of fire trails, which can improve access for firefighters during fires, he said.
The trails are also important for hazard reduction activities, providing a safe location from crews to work from.
We have seen in recent times the devastating impact that bushfires can have on communities. These works can assist with better protecting communities from bushfires, however we all have a role to play in this area.
So far this financial year to the end of March, 87 per cent of planned bushfire protection works have been completed, Mr Whan continued.
Those works have protected more than 137,000 properties with an estimated value of more than $67 billion dollars.
During the same period, more than 1100 targeted hazard reduction burning and mechanical works have been completed.
The Program addresses vital issues that have been identified by a number of bushfire inquiries including the House of Representatives Select Committee Report titled A Nation Charred: Inquiry into the Recent Australian Bushfires, and the Council of Australian Governments National inquiry on Bushfire Mitigation and Management.
Further information on the Bushfire Mitigation Program can be found at www.ema.gov.au