Our frontline defence against bushfires will be boosted thanks to more than $29 million in new funding for the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) as part of the NSW Government’s response to the NSW Bushfire Inquiry.
Measures funded in the package include:
- $21.3 million to extend 125 frontline firefighter positions for a further 12 months;
- $5.9 million, over five years, to create a dedicated team that works with the Rural Fire Service to embed ecological risk in the new fire management risk framework;
- $1 million to retrofit the NPWS tanker fleet with radiant heat curtains and single point spray systems to keep firefighters safe; and
- $1 million, over four years, for wildlife injured by bushfires including support for the State’s army of volunteer wildlife rehabilitators.
Environment Minister Matt Kean said the funding was key to supporting firefighting efforts in our National Parks estate.
“These boots on the ground will enable the NPWS team to increase hazard reduction activities in high risk areas close to property by 20 per cent,” Mr Kean said.
“The additional resources and new NPWS helicopter will also boost our remote area aerial capacity, enabling the team to chopper into some of the State’s hardest to reach areas and contain bushfires before they get too big and impact our ecological assets.
“During the devastating summer bushfires NPWS firefighters put their lives on the line to battle 519 blazes including 283 that started off park.
“We will continue to ensure each and every one of our hard-working NPWS firefighters have the kit they need to keep as safe as possible as they fight on the frontlines.”
Historic amendments will also be made to the NPW Act to enable the declaration of assets of exceptional ecological and cultural significance – like the Wollemi Pine, and introduce regulations that allow NPWS to prescribe fire management actions that protect those assets.
The NPWS funding is part of the $192 million package announced in response to the NSW Bushfire Inquiry which was commissioned by the Premier to examine the causes, preparation and response to the devastating 2019-20 summer bushfires.