At a recent Group Captains meeting, the topic of fire trail maintenance was heavily discussed.
The general consensus was that we used to achieve a whole lot more fire trail maintenance than we do now.
It also appears that funding for fire trail maintenance is becoming more difficult to obtain.
Even when funding is sourced, it gets gobbled up more quickly because the work is often managed by a bureaucratic system rather than by the staff and volunteers who possess the local knowledge.
In a media release, dated Tuesday, 23 June 2015, the Minister for Emergency Services, David Elliott stated that there was going to be more than $1 billion spent on supporting emergency services and to build community resilience.
Whilst the budget is generally good for our communities, the issue of fire trail expenditure seems to be inadequately addressed.
The media release stated that:
There is more than $5.2 million for the RFS to develop a web portal for landowners to access important information about bushfire risk and mitigation, $2 million to develop a fire trail network across the state and $1 million to build four regionally based remote area volunteer training centres.
Ask your local Group Captain about the fire trails in your patch.
Perhaps we need some clarification, is the $2 million an additional amount over and above an existing maintenance budget?
Either way, the issue of properly maintaining our fire trails does not seem to be a high priority.
Click on the image below to view media release (pdf format)
What are your thoughts?