THE Western Australian Government says that in accordance with recommendation 46 of the Keelty Review, State Cabinet has formally approved the drafting of legislation to restructure the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA).
Emergency Services Minister Troy Buswell said a Bill would be drafted to amend the Fire and Emergency Services Authority Act 1998 which would see FESA abolished and be restructured as a department of the State Government.
“The overriding intention of this legislative change is to ensure that the State’s emergency services response is directly accountable to Government,” Mr Buswell said.
“As a result of this change, a new position of Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner will be created, which will have similar command and control capabilities to a police commissioner, and which will report to the Emergency Services Minister.”
The legislative changes will also empower the Minister to establish a new advisory committee, which will be required to have volunteer representation.
Mr Buswell said other legislative changes to related Acts would also be progressed as a matter of urgency.
“The Bush Fires Act 1954 will be amended so police can independently use the powers of the Act when assisting at a bushfire, in line with recommendation 31 of the Keelty Review,” he said.
“We will also make amendments to the Emergency Management Act 2005 to allow the chair of the State Emergency Coordination Group to declare an emergency situation, and also to extend the powers of all police acting in emergency areas.”