Australia — THURSDAY’s State budget will include $23.1 million to help protect the state against bushfires.
The money will allow the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to employ an extra 56 people – 13 on-going and 43 seasonal firefighters – as well as on-going funding of more than $1 million per year to buy firefighting equipment including appliances and bulk water carriers.
Treasurer Jack Snelling today said the devastating bushfires that swept though Victoria in 2009 and the Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983 are reminders that living in Australia means we are at the mercy of the elements, and it is essential to have the ability to prepare and respond to them.
“This funding demonstrated the State Government’s continued commitment to fuel management on public lands to reduce the risk and impact of bushfires,” he said.
“By 2014-15, the State Government will be providing an additional $7.3 million per year, indexed, for the important long-term program of prescribed burning.”
Environment and Conservation Minister Paul Caica said the State Government was committed to increasing prescribed burns on public land following a key recommendation arising from the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission.
“The program will focus on high risk areas including the Mount Lofty Ranges, the Lower Eyre Peninsula, Southern Flinders Ranges, the South East and Kangaroo Island,” Mr Caica said.
“The State Government is committed to reducing fuel loads through prescribed burning because it is critical to South Australia’s bushfire preparedness measures ahead of our typically hot and dry summers.”
The Government will provide an extra $2.1 million over the next four years for additional resources and accreditation courses to Country Fire Service and State Emergency Services volunteers, and $2.5 million for additional support and capability of the State Emergency Information Call Centre.