Western Australia’s Minister for Regional Development, Terry Redman, says using Royalties for Regions’ funding to help the prescribed burning program is a legitimate use of the scheme.
Last week, Mr Redman pledged to get Royalties for Regions’ funding allocated to prescribed burning in the wake of the Northcliffe bushfires.
Speaking on ABC Local Radio, the Minister rejected the suggestion that the royalties’ funding might replace the state budget allocations from general revenue for prescribed burning.
Mr Redman said the use of royalties’ money to help meet the target of 200,000 hectares of burning each year was entirely justifiable.
“It has in my view been underfunded over the last number of years, the challenge of prescribed burnings is greater, there’s more people living in those areas, there’s higher risks,” he said.
“This is a way that I can value add to actually get into the situation where we can take some of the risk out of these south-west forests.”
Mr Redman said the ability to burn 200,000 hectares of forest each year had not been achieved in 20 years.
“In those circumstances I think it’s a very valid use of Royalties for Regions, it’s short-term, it’s there to try to get us back on track because of what hasn’t happened over the last two decades and it’s something that I can help and get the call, and support the calls from those communities to get ourselves back on track,” he said.
ABC Online | Andrew O’Connor |