Council support WALGA position in state consultation on CES Act Draft

Published on Sunday, 3 July 2022 at 9:05:00 AM

The Shire of Carnarvon has extended its support to the Western Australia Local Government Association’s (WALGA)’s advocacy position to provide guidance during engagement with the State Government’s drafting of the Consolidated Emergency Services Act (CES Act).

The State Government is in the process of drafting the CES Act which will consolidate the Fire Brigades Act 1942, Bush Fires Act 1954, and Fire and Emergency Services Act 1998 into one legislation. The CES Act is designed to provide increased support in rural fire management following the findings of the Ferguson Report on the 2016 Waroona Bushfire, which recommended a rural fire service to be established by the State Government to address perceived issues in rural fire management, governance, and capacity to deliver services.

Under the 1954 act, local governments in WA are responsible for bushfire and the management of volunteer bushfire brigades. Currently, 111 local governments are managing 563 volunteer brigades with approximately 20,000 volunteers.

WALGA’s proposed position based on feedback from local governments is to introduce a hybrid model for the management of bushfire brigades, with local government continuing to manage brigades where they have the capacity, capability, and resources to do so, and for the management of the brigades to be transferred to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services where there is no capability by local government to deliver the management themselves.

“We support WALGA’s proposed position as it is important for local governments to have a stake in the management of their volunteer brigades,” says Shire President Eddie Smith. “Local governments who have the capability to retain management can continue to do so, with more support offered to other local governments who do not have the resources to manage it themselves.”

The Local Emergency Management Committee in the Shire was consulted on the issue prior to the Council’s support. The CES Act is expected to be released by the State Government as a Green Bill for further consultation in early 2023.

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