Will Hodgman

Premier of Tasmania

6 January 2019

Michael Ferguson, Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management

Our firefighters deserve better than ill-informed criticism

Ill-informed criticism of the incredible firefighting work done by the Tasmania Fire Service and Parks and Wildlife Service over the last week is disgraceful.

Last Friday was one of the most extreme fire danger days Tasmania has ever faced. Thanks to the incredible efforts of the TFS and PWS, no lives were lost and property damage was minimal.

There was an immediate and comprehensive multi-agency response to the Gell River fire. To have unions and others criticising these efforts is beyond pathetic.

The response included the use of TFS water bombing and intelligence-gathering aircraft, and the deployment of two Large Air Tankers to spread retardant in the area. TFS crews were also pre-positioned in the Upper Derwent Valley to protect life and property at risk of ember attack.

To prevent bushfires state-wide, the Government has made a record $55 million investment in our targeted Fuel Reduction Program. Fuel reductions burns make our communities safer and so far land mass equivalent to more than 40,000 football ovals have been treated in the four years since the program began.

Since 2016, the Government has also invested $4 million to improve bushfire management in the wilderness area and this fire season 19 seasonal fire crew were employed to add to the PWS dedicated fire crew and the 130 PWS fire-fit staff who have fire management as a part of the duties.

Armchair experts who claim it is simple to put out a bushfire in remote wilderness show complete disrespect for the fantastic efforts made to keep Tasmanians safe.

More Media Releases from Michael Ferguson

More Media Releases from the Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management