WA firefighters are battling dud radios, a lack of basic equipment and budget cuts, despite a succession of devastating bushfires in the past three years, a parliamentary committee has concluded.
Toodyay in 2009, the Perth Hills in 2010 and Margaret River last year suffered huge property losses after devastating fires swept through an increasingly dry and dangerous WA landscape.
And with one volunteer firefighter already having been killed in a fire in Albany last month, committee chairman Tony O’Gorman said despite claims of better preparedness, there were still major flaws in the state’s firefighting capability.
“The government has given extra money to the department (of Fire and Emergency Services) but have then taken a whole heap of that money back,” Mr O’Gorman said.
“We think that actually does affect frontline services.”
Ahead of what is tipped to be another nightmare bushfire season in 2012, the state government has admitted a combination of a heavy fuel load, a dry winter and unhelpful weather threatening could lead to more major bushfires.