The following Question without Notice was asked by the Hon Dr Steve Thomas and answered today in Parliament by the Environment Minister Hon Stephen Dawson representing the Emergency Services Minister.
Hon Dr STEVE THOMAS to the minister representing the Minister for Emergency Services:
I refer to the minister’s now 10-month old announcement from April 2018 for the establishment of “a Bushfire Centre of Excellence that will ensure WA has the best access to fire knowledge, training, technical expertise and research”.
(1) With 10 months having passed since the minister’s announcement, does the minister agree with these statements from Commissioner Klemm on ABC radio on 30 January 2019, and I quote —
The south west of the state is halfway through the bushfire season; it is critical that DFES can hit fires hard and early to get them under control as soon as possible.
(2) If yes to (1), why has the minister allowed his indecision to compromise the ability of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and volunteers to hit fires hard in the south west, great southern and the state of Western Australia as a whole?
(3) With only two weeks of summer left, and with the December issue of the Rural Fire Division
newsletter stating that a “selection panel has reviewed and submitted shortlisted local governments to Government for final determination”, I again ask the minister: when will he announce the location of the Bushfire Centre of Excellence?
Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied:
I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.
(2) The premise of this question is false and misleading, and the minister is extremely disappointed that the member would attempt to politicise emergency response in this manner.
(3) The McGowan government’s Bushfire Centre of Excellence is a high-profile, transformative project for Western Australia. Significant interest has been expressed by local governments to host the Bushfire Centre of Excellence hub facility. The hub will be a focal point for all stakeholders, leading collaboration and innovation in rural fire management. Given the significance of the Bushfire Centre of Excellence to all Western Australians, it is essential that government decision-making processes relating to the location of the hub facility are robust.
The government will announce the location of the Bushfire Centre of Excellence hub facility in due course.