Australia — Community Fire Refuges will provide an important new safety tool in dealing with bushfires this summer, Premier David Bartlett said today.
The refuges are part of the $5 million bushfires initiative announced last month as part of the Governments initial response to the lessons from the Victorian bushfires.
We needed to move quickly to get as many as possible of the initiatives in place as soon as possible.
A priority part of the strategy is $2 million over three years for Community Protection Plans.
These will, in addition to providing education and awareness-raising, provide identifiable places for people to use when there is the threat of fire.
Community Fire Refuges will be outside the fire impact area to cater for people who have decided not to stay and defend their properties.
We are well on the way to getting agreement with councils and landowners for sites throughout the State and we expect to have up to 32 designated areas.
I want to thank Scott McLean, one of our Bass candidates, and the CFMEU for the work they have done in developing our bushfire strategy.
Today I can announce the following sites that have been identified as suitable for community fire refuges:
DeloraineDeloraine Sporting ComplexPyneganaPynegana HallSt HelensPortland HallSt HelensSt Helens Sports Complex & Football ClubSt Mary’sSt Mary’s HallSt Mary’sSt Mary’s Sports ComplexGeorgetownGeorgetown Memorial HallLilydaleLilydale Community HallScottsdaleNuggett Sellers Sports ComplexRocky CapeRocky Cape TavernHobartDerwent Entertainment CentreKingstonKingsborough Sports CentreSorellSorrell Memorial HallOatlandsRecreation Ground / OvalHuonvillePolice Citizens & Youth ClubBrightonBrighton Civic Centre
Other sites throughout the State will be announced shortly as arrangements are put in place with councils and building operators.
The Tasmania Fire Service is working through some remain operational issues with Councils, building owners and operators but these details will not prevent the facilities from being available this season should there be a need.
The other part of this strategy is the provision of Neighbourhood Safer Places that will be located within communities to provide a close by area with a degree of safety for people trapped within a fire area.
The Tasmania Fire Service has already identified a number of potential sites but before they are announced it needs to ensure they will provide the level of safety required.
Choosing these sites needs extreme care.
Mr Bartlett said that the other parts of the packaged announced last month included:
$614,000 to improve the capacity to respond to wildfires in national parks and reserves. Includes the creation of 16 seasonal positions and equipment. This is on top of 30 new ranger positions.
$790,000 for the provision of equipment to volunteer brigades.
An extra $1.5 million for the removal of roadside vegetation hazards.
Mr Bartlett said the locations of the safer places and refuges will be built into local emergency coordination and planning processes.