A total of 15 local governments in high-risk priority areas are now eligible to apply for bushfire mitigation funding from the inaugural four-year $15 million Mitigation Activity Fund.
The local governments, who have completed their Bushfire Risk Management Plans, can apply for a share of an initial $3 million in funding assistance to carry out ‘on-ground works’ for the 2017-18 financial year.
The works, funded by Royalties for Regions, include the creation of firebreaks; hazard reduction burning; slashing; mowing; clearing; mulching; and access-road construction.
The funding is available for those local governments that had been part of the 2014 initial trial of Bushfire Risk Management Plans to help them address the risks they had now identified.
The 15 eligible local governments for the Mitigation Activity Fund are the shires of Augusta-Margaret River; Beverley; Boddington; Boyup Brook; Bridgetown-Greenbushes; Carnamah; Chittering; Donnybrook-Balingup; Irwin; Jerramungup; Nannup; Northampton; Ravensthorpe; West Arthur; and Woodanilling.
A Mitigation Activity Fund Governance Committee will assess the applications based on the risk to life, property and the environment as well as cost and treatment effectiveness.
“Mitigating the bushfire risks that much of Western Australia faces is one of our best chances at reducing catastrophic bushfires," said Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan.
“All landowners, which includes local governments, have a responsibility to reduce fuel loads and deal with bushfire risks.
“Our communities cannot afford to ignore unmitigated risks and hope that emergency service responders will always be able to deal with major emergencies.
“Our climate is drying, the threat is growing and we have seen how deadly and devastating the consequences can be.
“This Mitigation Activity Fund gives 15 local governments, in high-risk priority areas, a helping hand to reduce the risks that they have identified.
“The McGowan Labor Government recognises the importance of mitigation and expanded the Bushfire Risk Management Plan process this year to include another 11 local governments with $3.7 million in extra funding.
“But there is not an inexhaustible amount of funding available from the State Government and all relevant local governments must consider very carefully how they will carry out and fund these vital works into the future.”