Since coming to Government in 2014, there has been an increase of 29.89 FTE in staff across the Parks and Wildlife Service. Union claims suggesting otherwise are false.
It is disappointing, but sadly not surprising, that unions have chosen to criticise and politicise the response to a significant bushfire and extreme weather event.
Not only has the Government hired more PWS staff, but we’ve invested $4 million to improve bushfire management in the wilderness area. 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 their duties.
There has been a comprehensive and immediate response to the Gell River fire following its ignition by lightning strike on the night of 27 December. An incident team of 24 were deployed by the Parks and Wildlife Service and Tasmania Fire Service water bombing and intelligence-gathering aircraft have been tasked to the fire since 28 December 2018. There has also been two Large Air Tankers deployed to spread retardant in the area, and TFS crews were also pre-positioned in the Upper Derwent Valley to protect life and property at risk of ember attack.
The Government strongly supports our expert staff and volunteers in the TFS and PWS who have been fighting this fire, as well as many others around the state over the past week.
On one of the most extreme fire danger days ever seen in Tasmania, no lives were lost and property damage was minimal. Our firefighters and fire management teams have done a fantastic job and its very disappointing their efforts have become subject to political attacks from unions.