The Association of Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades of WA (AVBFB) has welcomed a $26m investment announced yesterday by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Assistant Minister for Home Affairs Senator Linda Reynolds.

AVBFB President Dave Gossage said the association that represents Western Australia’s largest and most diverse emergency service was very pleased to see the Federal Government working on emergency services policies.

“We are always happy when governments show interest in Australia’s fire and emergency services. And more money is definitely required, so we thank the federal government for yesterday’s commitment of $26m,” Mr Gossage said.

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“Understandably, there was a lot of focus on Queensland and the eastern states in the Prime Minister’s press conference, but WA should also see benefits based on what we have been able to ascertain so far.”

“While fire and emergency services are state based services, there are some very important things the federal government ought to be doing at a national level and yesterday’s announcement touches of some of them.”

“Initiatives like the extra $11m committed to the National Aerial Firefighting Centre to better manage air support across Australia and the $3.5m being provided toward telecommunications infrastructure and services are very significant areas in which federal governments should be absolutely active.”

“For WA, we think the most immediate benefit could come from the $5m promised to establish the Prepared Communities Fund to support high-priority state or territory initiatives that improve community preparedness and resilience, including bushfire shelters in high risk communities.”

“We are informed that each State Government will apply for portions of that money for specific projects and the funding will be decided on a case-by-case basis.”

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“The AVBFB welcomes government interest in the essential work of our emergency services and is very appreciative when extra investment is carefully and efficiently provided. As a result of this statement, we have been in touch with the Prime Minister’s office and that of Senator Linda Reynolds to thank them for their support and remind them that in WA, more than 90% of our firefighting personnel are volunteers who aren’t directly managed by the State Government,” Mr Gossage concluded.

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