Shire advocates for volunteer firefighters to remain the responsibility of local government

Murray County is advocating for the management of its bush firefighters to remain the responsibility of local governments, but with additional support from the state government until a clear model is presented as a better alternative.

At last week’s council meeting, Murray County reviewed a discussion paper from the WA Local Government Association (WALGA), which offered options for keeping management of volunteer brigades under the responsibility of local brigades. , with the support of state government resources and funding, and or to transfer responsibility for all brigades to the state government.

WALGA asks municipalities for advice on how to manage BFBs in the future. This is part of his advocacy preparation ahead of state government consultation on the issue next year.

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The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) is in the process of revising the Firefighters Act 1942, the Bushfires Act 1954 and the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1998 to create a single, comprehensive Emergency Services Act, which aims to improve community safety and better support our volunteer bush firefighters and emergency service workers.

Currently the County operates five volunteer bush fire brigades including West Murray, South Yunderup/Ravenswood, North Dandelup, Coolup and Dwellingup. There is also the Pinjarra Voluntary Fire and Rescue Service, run by the DFES.

Murray County conducted a process of engagement and consultation within the five bush fire brigades. Most of the comments received indicated that the volunteer BFBs want to be maintained at the local level, and this recommendation was supported by the board.

Shire Chairman Cr David Bolt said: “I would like to thank the tireless volunteers who are the backbone of our local bush fires. They told us loud and clear that the people best placed to manage and make decisions about BFBs should be the local people, with a deep and detailed understanding of the local area.

“Therefore, we will consider the County to be in the best position to manage BFBs in the future, but we also need additional support from the state government in terms of funding and better access to training resources.

“While some other local governments are proposing to remove the statutory requirement for local governments in WA to manage volunteer bush firefighters, the county believes this would be premature without a formal structure in place that defines how they would operate in the future. .”

“The important thing in all of this is to make sure we have well-supported, well-trained and safe local brigades, because they are the ones who put their lives on the line when called upon to fight fires,” he said. -he declares. .

“Whatever structure we put in place, we want to make sure that the needs (of the BFBs) are understood, taken into account and well managed. This is our goal.