$22 million funding boost for prescribed burning
The McGowan Government is delivering a $22 million funding boost to DBCA's Enhanced Prescribed Burning Program over four years, via the 2019-20 State Budget.
This is in addition to the department's annual prescribed burning budget allocation of $11 million for the south-west of the State.
Research shows that prescribed burning is effective in reducing the frequency and size of bushfires in the forests of south-west Western Australia when at least 45 per cent of the landscape has a fuel age of less than six years since last burnt.
To realise this target in the three south-west forest regions it manages, DBCA's Parks and Wildlife Service aims to prescribe burn at least 200,000 hectares each financial year.
The Enhanced Prescribed Burning Program has helped the department achieve this target for the past two consecutive financial years, as it allows for greater flexibility in the use of seasonal staff and contracted local suppliers such as heavy machinery operators.
The program which employs 13 people has also delivered tangible outcomes and benefits for communities through the creation of new local employment, and local business opportunities for suppliers to provide services that support prescribed burning operations.
This has included providing accommodation and catering associated with the mobilisation of conservation employees to undertake prescribed burns across regional boundaries, and a variety of contract services which all support local economies in the regions.
Stable weather and other factors, such as fuel moisture, have seen autumn prescribed burning commence across the south-west with detailed information on prescribed burns updated daily at http://www.dbca.wa.gov.au/todaysburns
The department aims to minimise smoke impacts, and people with conditions exacerbated by smoke should take precautions in line with their medical advice.
Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:
"The McGowan Government remains strongly committed to an appropriate funding model for the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions to ensure prescribed burning targets are met.
"We are investing $22 million from Royalties for Regions over the next four years to protect the community from the damaging impacts of bushfire.
"The Enhanced Prescribed Burning Program's collaborative approach to bushfire mitigation has enabled DBCA's Parks and Wildlife Service to exceed its prescribed burning targets in 2016-17 and 2017-18.
"With this significant investment from the 2019-20 State Budget, the department can continue to deliver community safety and biodiversity outcomes.
"More than 104,000 hectares of prescribed burning has been conducted across the department's three south-west forest regions this financial year and if favourable autumn weather continues, the department will be well positioned to achieve its 200,000 hectare annual prescribed burning goal."