Greens policy tackles bushfire risks

Rueben HaleThe West Australian
Greens Candidate for the South West Region Diane Evers.
Camera IconGreens Candidate for the South West Region Diane Evers.

The WA Greens have outlined plans to create an independent bushfire service as part of their agriculture policy campaign launch.

Greens candidate for the South West Region Diane Evers and candidate for Murray-Wellington Callum Burwood joined with supporters for their launch in Harvey last week.

Ms Evers said tackling extreme fire seasons was a party focus.

“After dry years, recent floods, warmer winters and recent severe fires, I’ve spoken with many farmers who are are concerned about climate change and the effect they have noticed on their farms,” she said. “Farmers are recognising they must adapt to the changes, and prepare for what lies ahead and bushfire risk is part of the Australian landscape, but the natural cycle of fire has changed as a result of human activity.”

Ms Evers said if elected, Greens candidates would work towards a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and properly managing fuel loads on properties.

“Whether or not fires are deliberately lit, the impacts on lives, emergency services, property and the environment are enormous,” she said. “That is why we will aim to create an independent rural bushfire service, increase awareness of the risks of fire, increase the funding allocated to bushfire mitigation, help people to fireproof their homes and put the onus of bushfire requirements back on property developers.”

Ms Evers said fire prevention was only one pillar of a comprehensive Green agriculture policy and the party is focused on farmers making a decent living from their land and farming.

“The Greens Agricultural Policy addresses issues such as soil health improvement, reducing chemical inputs, access to clean water, and research into agricultural practices that improve profitability,” she said.

“The Greens and farmers share a long-term view for agriculture — we both want sustainable farms growing nutritional food that contributes to and benefits from a strong community and diverse economy. Agricultural land must be looked after to maintain food security and generate export dollars into the region.”

Ms Evers said the party’s policy also focuses on community issues such as providing a future for young people and ensuring access to quality health care, and meaningful employment to keep people living healthy lives in the regional areas.

Ms Evers said to support the growth of farming in WA, The Greens planned to reverse the downward funding spiral for the Department of Agriculture and Food.

“We want to bring back research and on-farm assistance to the level of previous years,” she said.

“Taking advice from the corporations that make and sell the chemical inputs has the same risks as taking advice from financial services trying to sell you their products. And we need a well-funded agricultural department to provide independent advice based on science.

“That department should not have to be applying to Royalties for Regions to maintain staff."

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