The State Liberals are concerned that the Weatherill Labor Government’s massive increases in the Emergency Services Levy and its total disregard for the concerns of CFS volunteers is making South Australia more vulnerable to the impacts of bushfires at the very moment the threat of bushfires is escalating.
“Today’s reports from the Climate Council leaves no doubt that the risk of bushfire in South Australia is increasing and that we will need ever larger numbers of CFS volunteers to cope with the massive threat bushfires pose,” said Shadow Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Michelle Lensink.
“A combination of a longer fire season, drier fuel loads and more intense fires poses an enormous risk to large areas of South Australia.
“We already have CFS volunteers refusing to fight fires on State Government land as a result of the Weatherill Government’s massive ESL increases.
“I’m also aware of current CFS volunteers who are considering leaving the CFS completely as a consequence of the massive increases in the Weatherill Government has imposed on the ESL.
“There is a deep disgust amongst the ranks of CFS volunteers about how the Weatherill Government has handled both the issue of cancer compensation and the massive increases in the ESL.
“Treasurer Koutsantonis’ inexcusable insult to CFS volunteers only added to the injury.
“The Weatherill Government needs to explain how it is going to encourage more individuals to join the CFS to protect the community from the ravages of bushfires.
“The Climate Council expects the economic costs of bushfires in South Australia to triple from $43 million this to approximately $130 million by the middle of the century.
“The fewer CFS volunteers we have to control bushfires the greater the economic and environmental damage the fires will inflict.”