For member’s interest, the letter below was sent yesterday to the Hon Fran Logan, Minister for Emergency Services, cc’d to Premier Mark McGowan thanking the Minister and his government for not rushing into a decision regarding their Rural Fire Service or the need to reform the management of the ESL.
Hon Fran Logan
Minister for Emergency Services
10th Floor, 2 Havelock Street
WEST PERTH WA 6005
IN APPRECIATION OF YOUR RECENT DECISIONS
We know Ministers sometimes find themselves with a bit of a $#!% sandwich of other people’s making and don’t often receive public support for what they do.
So, we simply wanted to take a moment to formally thank you and Premier McGowan for not rushing into decisions about the restructure of the state’s emergency services.
While it is important to utilise the unique circumstances of your new Government and change of Commissioner to enact much needed changes as quickly as possible, the Association of Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades (AVBFB) has publicly said – and will continue to defend – that we would rather get it right than compromise for expediency.
We therefore applaud your decision to not make rash announcements as part of Thursday’s Budget and strongly encourage the government to invest a little time into thoroughly investigating a few genuine options for a new, more cost-effective and efficient emergency services structure for consultation with key stakeholders before any further decisions are taken.
We have also consistently publicly acknowledged the difficult financial circumstances this government inherited and support the work being done to repair that problem. While some have suggested that an independent Rural Fire Service would “cost” the government hundreds of millions of dollars, we believe it is essential that these claims and alternative models be rigorously tested before a final decision is made.
The strongest fear we hold is that the current once-in-a-generation opportunity to undo the flawed structure implemented (and defended) by the Barnett Government will be missed, based on nothing more than speculative estimates and assumptions that doing so would result in unaffordable nett costs to our State.
And that is why we again thank you for taking the time required to consider the long-term implications of “tinkering” versus “fixing” – and look forward to working with you to guide and support the eventual, agreed reforms required to undo the unfortunate problems created by the ill-considered dogma of previous administrations.
11 September 2017
cc: Hon Mark McGowan, Premier