Friday, June 21, 2024

Tasmanian Govt promises fit-for-future emergency services

Tasmanian Premier, Jeremy Rockliff says the State Government is committed to building fit-for-future emergency services to keep Tasmanians safe.

The newly released 2023 Report on Government Services – Fire and Emergency Services report found that the State has more volunteer firefighters per head of population than the national average, has a growing number of volunteers in emergency services and continues to face one of the most active fire landscapes in the country.

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management, Felix Ellis, said Tasmania has 835 volunteer firefighters per 100,000 people in Tasmania, well above the national average of 750.

“Our 4,758 volunteer firefighters make Tasmanians immensely proud through their ongoing dedication to keeping Tasmanians safe from fire and other emergencies,” he said.

“Our volunteer numbers also continue to grow in the State Emergency Service, with 641 volunteers recorded in 2021-22.”

Tasmania now has its lowest rate of structural fires in the past 10 years and in 2021-22, Tasmania had a total of 136.7 landscape fire incidents attended per 100,000 people, compared to the national rate of 113.4 landscape fire incidents per 100,000 people.

“The Tasmanian Government is incredibly grateful for the significant work and contribution of all of our emergency services workers to keeping Tasmanians safe,” the Minister said.

“As announced on 24 January, the Rockliff Liberal Government is committed to establishing fit-for-future fire and emergency services by merging the Tasmania Fire Service and the State Emergency Services and empowering senior leaders.”

The report also highlighted that local government funding for the SES was inconsistent and unreliable.

“The annual funding for the SES decreased by $900,000 in 2021-22. This was the lowest revenue figure for the SES since 2012-13.”

“The Government is finalising further reform as part of the 2023-24 Tasmanian State Budget process, which will deliver even greater support our fire and emergency services,” said Minister Ellis.

On 24 January, the Government announced that the Tasmania Fire Service and Tasmania SES will unite to form the Tasmanian Fire and Emergency Service.

“We are establishing a new, strong chain of command, elevating the Chief Officer of TFS to the role of Commissioner of Fire and Emergency Services. This will deliver greater collaboration, clearer accountability and safer communities,” the Minister said.

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