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Rural firefighting service win for WA

WAFarmers has welcomed the formal announcement of a rural firefighting service by the State Government in their response to the Report of the Special Inquiry into the January 2016 Waroona Fire.

Premier Colin Barnett last week announced that the State Government would create a rural firefighting service, as recommended by Euan Ferguson in the report which was released in June.

WAFarmers President Tony York said the action was a win for local communities and firefighters.

“The initial report recommended the establishment of a rural firefighting service, and we are pleased that this recommendation is being put into action as it is something that we have been calling for for quite some time,” Mr York said. 

“A separate rural firefighting service will ensure swift action from the trained people on the ground to manage blazes as early as possible rather than have them wait for back-up, which has been identified as a huge frustration for farmers and the wider community when their homes are under threat.”

Mr York said WAFarmers would like to be involved in establishing the service and determining governing processes and firefighter interactions.

“In the initial report, Mr Ferguson acknowledged that the existing firefighting systems are disjointed and while the new service will help to bridge this divide, we know that industry input is critical to ensure the service is well managed and that it can focus on local conditions,” Mr York explained.

“We need to know how it will function, who will govern it, who is involved in it, and how management proposes to communicate with firefighters, both volunteers and professionally appointed, and this is something that we feel we can contribute to.

“This new rural firefighting service is a great step forward in recognising the importance of volunteer firefighters and the need for immediate action on the ground, and we look forward to being part of this historic movement within Western Australia.”

Mr Barnett accepted all 17 recommendations, as highlighted by Mr Ferguson in the initial report.

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