The following article was published in The West Australian newspaper today and is shared for the information of members. For the record, The Association of Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades (AVBFB) was approached for comment and provided the following key points which were obviously not directly related to the issue at hand and therefore not included in the article:
- We can not comment on this specific decision because we have very limited detailed information about it.
- However, generally the Association empathises with people who want to live among trees and areas of varied elevation.
- But it is important that when planning decisions are made, the level of risk of bushfire is considered with due regard – not only for the intended residents, but also for those who would be risking their lives to rescue or protect the lives and property of future residents in an emergency.
- We have no information about what DFES has done and said, but if the article is correct, it would be somewhat bewildering if the expert advice from the government Department that receives around half a billion dollars funding each year is ignored by other parts of government.
- The Association does not want a direct voice in planning decisions like this but has a definite interest in the issue because its volunteer members will be responsible for the prevention, preparation, response and recovery of bushfire in the area.
- The AVBFB accepts that any government may have strong (unknown), reasons for taking decisions that may seem unwise to the public and/or other stakeholders (including us).
Planning Minister Rita Saffioti has given the green light to a planned housing subdivision in the Perth Hills despite warnings from WA’s firefighting agency that the development posed a “catastrophic” fire risk.
Five years after the devastating Parkerville bushfire, which destroyed about 80 homes, it has emerged that Ms Saffioti ignored expert advice aimed at avoiding similar disasters in approving a 46ha development in Mt Helena.
The advice was provided by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, which said the plans would expose lives and properties to an unacceptable level of fire danger. It was also backed by the WA Planning Commission, which recommended against the subdivision .
WA Nationals spokesman Colin de Grussa said that documents revealed a complacency by the McGowan Government about development in fire-prone areas.