24 January 2023
Jeremy Rockliff, Premier
Felix Ellis, Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services
Strengthening fire and emergency partnerships to keep Tasmanians safe
Today, the Tasmanian Government has announced the first vital steps in establishing fit-for-future fire and emergency services.
Following more than five years of reviews into the State’s emergency services, the Tasmania Fire Service and the State Emergency Services will now be merged to become the Tasmania Fire and Emergency Service and a strong chain of command will be established.
Premier Jeremy Rockliff said reviews of the Fire Service Act have consistently found inadequate governance arrangements within the emergency services and this was a key motivator for change.
“With the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters, it is important we take action today to empower our emergency leaders for tomorrow,” he said.
“The Tasmanian Liberal Government is committed to taking the steps we need to strengthen our emergency services to keep Tasmanians safe.
“Merging these two key services recognises the support the more than 5,400 volunteers provide in times of crisis and recognises the strength in their existing cohesive and collaborative relationship.
“We saw this collaboration most recently with the flood emergency in the North and North-West.”
“However, both the TFS and SES will keep their individual identities. We know how important this is to staff and volunteers of these organisations.”
Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management, Felix Ellis, said to establish a new, strong chain of command, the Chief Officer of TFS will be elevated to the role of Commissioner of Fire and Emergency Services.
“The Commissioner will report directly to the Minister of the day and will oversee the new Tasmania Fire and Emergency Service. The Director SES will remain in the TFES’ key leadership group,” he said.
“The Commissioner will be in charge and will have clear responsibilities and accountability.
“Fire’s key governance body – the State Fire Commission – will be retained and reformed to become the State Fire and Emergency Service Committee.
“Its membership will grow to include representation from the SES and other emergency services, to ensure everyone has a voice at the table.
“This Committee will be legislated and will report to and support the Commissioner of Fire and Emergency Services.
“These reforms will be key parts of the new Fire and Emergency Services Act, which will be legislated later in the year.
“I would like to thank everyone including our volunteer associations for their ongoing support in taking our emergency services from strength to strength.
“These changes will empower our emergency services and is another example of how the Rockliff Liberal Government is taking action to keep Tasmanians safe.”
For more information on this reform, visit fire.tas.gov.au/reform.
Volunteer Association Call for Funding Changes
Tasmania’s emergency services will need to evolve to service the projected 2030 population growth, says the State’s main volunteer Association.
“The projected growth to have 79,000 more residents by 2033, with most living outside the larger population centres will strongly impact our regional volunteer brigades,” said Tasmanian Volunteer Fire Brigades Association (TVFBA) State President, Rob Atkins.
Mr Atkins said the immediate need was to ensure a consistent model for funding volunteer brigades across the State.
“Funding for the Fire Service has been inconsistent for years and there’s now a critical need to have a funding model which is consistent, fair and sustainable into the future.”
He highlighted how Fire Service funding had been the subject of Parliamentary Committees and two independent reviews with repeated recommendations for improvements over nearly a decade.
“It is time to structure the funding model properly so we can develop our stations in the regions to support the projected population increases in those areas.”
“We conveyed the concerns of our members in a recent Executive meeting with Minister Felix Ellis who is in agreeance of the need for change.”
Mr Atkins said there was also a need for the Fire Service to undertake future workforce development planning in order to plan for further resourcing into growing areas.
Rob Atkins 0409 140 237
SUBSCRIBE to our mailing list