Bush Fire Brigades should remain responsibility of Local Governments

Published on 27 June 2022

Two volunteer firefighters inspecting a map

The management of Bush Fire Brigades (BFB) should remain the responsibility of local governments, but with additional support from the State Government until a clear model that demonstrates a better alternative is presented.

That’s the position the Shire of Murray Council will be advocating to the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) following its Ordinary Council Meeting.

WALGA is asking for feedback from local councils on how BFBs should be managed in the future. This is part of its advocacy preparation ahead of State Government consultation into the issue next year.

The Shire of Murray has led a process of engagement and consultation with the five BFBs in the district and received significant input into the recommendation approved by the Council.

Shire President Cr David Bolt said “I want to thank the tireless volunteers who are the lifeblood of our local bush fire brigades. They have told us loud and clear that the people best placed to manage and make decisions regarding the BFBs should be local people, with a deep and detailed understanding of the local area.

“Consequently, we will be taking the view that the Shire is best placed to manage BFBs in the future, but that we also need additional support from the State Government with respect to funding and better access to training resources”.

Although some other local governments are proposing removing the legislative requirement for WA Local Governments to manage volunteer bush fire brigades, the Shire believes that this would be premature without a formal structure in place that defines how they would function in the future.