Thursday, 22 December 2016
Nicknamed 'Georgia Peach', the Aircrane joins 21 other rotary and fixed-wing aircraft in the joint Department of Fire and Emergency Services and Department of Parks and Wildlife fleet.
Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis said the aerial fleet was a vital part of the State's firefighting capability.
"The aircraft do an amazing job. By getting to bushfires early to attack the flames, they make an enormous difference for firefighters on the ground," Mr Francis said.
"The severity and frequency of fires continues to increase in WA, with our aerial fleet dropping more than 28 million litres of suppressants last bushfire season."
Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the fleet was strategically located across the State with aircraft based in Perth, Bunbury, Busselton, Manjimup and Albany.
"The aerial fleet is also supported by Parks and Wildlife's six fixed-wing fire spotter aircraft and 11 fire towers, which provide early detection of fires," Mr Jacob said.
"Parks and Wildlife has carried out about 167,000 hectares of prescribed burning in the south-west since July to help mitigate bushfire risk."
The fleet is jointly funded by the State Government with $15 million, plus operating costs, and a Federal Government contribution of $2.9 million through the National Aerial Firefighting Centre.
Please join us for a celebratory Christmas gathering on Saturday.
Our weekly Garden Gatherings are continuing over the Christmas - New Year period, every Saturday.
1pm - 3pm on both Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.
On Christmas Eve we invite you to come along with a plate to share as we celebrate the year that was. The Manjimup Community Garden, after a long period of dormancy, sprung back to life at the beginning of this year and has enjoyed many successes over the course of only 12 months. If you haven't seen the garden lately, you should!
Take a moment out from your busy festive-season schedule and come relax in the Garden on Saturday. You could probably use a breather ;-)
We really look forward to seeing you there.
From the MCG Volunteers
Thursday, 22 December 2016
Deputy Premier, Police and Road Safety Minister Liza Harvey said the money would fund overtime for additional Traffic Enforcement Group, booze and drug bus and regional police traffic operations.
"Operation Metaphor will be conducted within 250 kilometres of Perth, where about 70 per cent of the fatal regional crashes have occurred so far this year," Ms Harvey said.
"The operation will be targeting those offences we know are behind serious and fatal crashes including drink and drug driving, speeding, not wearing seatbelts and using mobile phones while behind the wheel."
The Deputy Premier said it was anticipated Operation Metaphor would have a positive influence on regional road user behaviour with a heightened police visibility and increased enforcement of the offences killing people on Western Australian roads.
"Operation Metaphor has been operating since late November but will ramp up as we head into one of the busiest time on Western Australian roads over the Christmas holiday break," she said.
Operation Metaphor will be supported by the double demerit penalties which kick in for the holiday period at midnight tonight until midnight January 8, 2017.
Ms Harvey said this summer period, WA Police would have access to a range of new Liberal National Government road safety initiatives including alcohol interlocks for serious and repeat drink drivers and increased careless driving penalties when a person is injured or killed.
Thursday, 22 December 2016
Transport Minister Bill Marmion said it was great to see the grants going towards a wide range of events encouraging West Australians of all ages and abilities to get on their bikes for transport and leisure.
"The grant winners for Bike Week 2017 will be putting on some exciting, community-focused events, including bike-to-work breakfasts, bike scavenger hunts, family rides, bike bingo, along with bike pit stops and maintenance workshops," Mr Marmion said.
"The popularity of Bike Week and the supporting grants continues to grow, with 69 grant applications received this year.
"Every year we see Bike Week becoming more diverse and the events spread right across WA. This year we have events taking place from Quairading in the Wheatbelt, Albany in the Great Southern to Ashburton in the Pilbara, with the grants helping make these events possible.
"From 2008 to 2016, the State Government has invested more than $133 million in cycling initiatives, with $90 million committed for the next four years to help expand and improve the bike path network in WA, making it easier to use a bike for transport."
Thursday, 22 December 2016
Treasurer Mike Nahan said $527 million had been shaved off the forecast operating deficit, revised down from $3.9 billion in the May Budget to $3.4 billion for 2016-17, as well as improvements in net debt forecasts across the forward estimates.
Dr Nahan said the recent increase in commodity prices, combined with increases in export volumes from major resources projects, was driving Western Australia's export sector.
"Continuing strong growth in net exports, due to a ramp up in iron ore and LNG production, is expected to support growth in the economy over the budget period, albeit at slower rates than recent historical highs," the Treasurer said.
"Economic growth has undoubtedly slowed, but the fact is we're still growing and the economy is now 40 per cent bigger than when we came to office in 2008-09."
However, Dr Nahan warned the projected additional $3.7 billion in royalty income over the forward estimates was expected to be largely off-set by downward revisions to taxation revenue and GST grants, if GST reform was not forthcoming in the four-year budget period.
"The State Government cannot stress enough how important reform of the grossly unfair GST distribution system is, as WA's higher royalty income will largely be redistributed to other States and Territories," he said.
"The Mid-year Review shows that adjustments in the labour market, combined with a softer property market and a general easing in domestic economic activity, are expected to result in substantially lower payroll tax and transfer duty collections relative to budget."
The Mid-year Review forecasts also demonstrate the ongoing success of Government efforts to improve the efficiency of the public sector and limit growth in general government expenditure as a result of the roll-out of the Agency Expenditure Review program, and the successful implementation of the Government's 1.5 per cent wages policy.
Spending measures in the Mid-year Review include:
"The State Government will continue to progress our asset sales program, which represents a significant upside to the Mid year Review estimates given that these are only written into the estimates when sales are finalised," he said.
Western Power puts safety first during bushfire season. We do this by investing significantly in preparation activities such as vegetation management and ongoing network maintenance (including replacing powerlines, poles and equipment). We take these steps before bushfire season starts to help keep the network running safely.
Once we are in bushfire season we modify the network settings to make them more sensitive when the risk of bushfire is greatest (December to April). This could result in residents experiencing more outages.
Local residents may also experience longer outages during bushfire season due to our restoration practices being limited when Total Fire Bans and Vehicle Movement Bans are declared. In these instances power may not be restored until evening or the next day, depending when it is deemed to be safe enough to do so. Some regional powerlines are hundreds of kilometres long so patrolling the line to find the fault can take some time.
To help prepare your organisation and local residents for a power outage during bushfire season Western Power have developed a brochure and short checklist which is attached.
Outages and restoration times can be monitored by visiting westernpower.com.au or downloading the Western Power app to a mobile device. Faults, emergencies and power interruption information can be accessed through our emergency line on 13 13 51. For general enquiries please call 13 10 87.
Best wishes for a safe holiday season.
Wednesday, 21 December 2016
Environment Minister Albert Jacob said prescribed burning was an essential tool in minimising the threat of bushfires and protecting communities, and Parks and Wildlife was well on its way to reaching the annual target of 200,000 hectares.
"Favourable weather conditions and additional funding provided by the Liberal National Government have enabled the department to significantly progress its prescribed burn program with substantial results," Mr Jacob said.
"Autumn and spring are the ideal seasons for prescribed burning in the south-west and already the department has eclipsed the total area burnt last financial year, in spring alone, with more than 77 burns undertaken.
"In 2015-16, Parks and Wildlife achieved 154,000 hectares, its best result in the preceding five years, so this spring's result of 166,951 hectares to date is an important outcome for communities that are area prone to bushfires."
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the Liberal National Government was committed to protecting communities and had provided an additional $20 million over four years under Royalties for Regions to provide Parks and Wildlife with greater capacity and flexibility to undertake prescribed burns.
"The Department of Parks and Wildlife has limited opportunities to undertake prescribed burns because it is highly dependent on weather conditions to ensure safe and effective operations," Mr Redman said.
"The additional funding provided from Royalties for Regions has helped produce the best result in five years for the State's prescribed burning program.
"The other positive for regional communities has been the employment opportunities for local contractors and businesses involved in supporting roles of the prescribed burning program."
Wednesday, 21 December 2016
The communities in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions will be the first of the State's bigger communities to participate in a program to progressively bring basic services up to minimum standards.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the State Government was delivering on a promise to reform essential and municipal services in remote Aboriginal communities, with a $52 million initial investment from Royalties for Regions.
"The Essential and Municipal Services Upgrade Program is one of 10 priority actions in the Government's 'Resilient Families; Strong Communities' roadmap," Mr Redman said.
"In many remote Aboriginal communities, poor living conditions negatively affect the health of residents, and their participation in school and work.
"We believe that living conditions can be improved through mutual accountability between households, communities and government. The State Government's contribution is a significant investment in upgrades to power, water, wastewater and municipal infrastructure. In turn, individual households will be metered and charged for power and water services."
The first 10 communities to participate in the program were selected based on principles outlined in the roadmap, which include strong community leadership on education and employment, business or work opportunities, the capacity for the community to be used as a service hub and no natural limitations on growth.
Child Protection Minister Andrea Mitchell said the investment was about much more than power, water and roads.
"Living conditions are the foundation on which family resilience and wellbeing are built," Ms Mitchell said.
"This investment will be the beginning of generational change for many Aboriginal families living in regional and remote Western Australia.
"Improved living conditions will also lay the groundwork for the development of greater economic opportunities for remote Aboriginal communities."
The State Government will work with the first 10 communities to develop a plan for each community, for the upgrades. Consultation and planning will take place over the next 18 months, with capital works expected to begin from July 2018.
All other remote Aboriginal communities that currently receive Government support for essential and municipal services will continue to do so.