Hon Christian Porter BA(Hons) BEc LLB(UWA) MSc(Dist)(LSE) MLA

Hon Christian Porter BA(Hons) BEc LLB(UWA) MSc(Dist)(LSE) MLA

Former Treasurer; Attorney General

Hon Bill Marmion BE MBA MLA

Hon Bill Marmion BE MBA MLA

Former Minister for State Development; Transport; Innovation

    State Budget 2012-13: Building the State; Supporting our Community - fire management and conservation priorities for DEC budget

    17/05/2012 12:00 AM
     
    • $33million boost for DEC fire management
    • $15.6million for parks and visitor facilities
    • $260million to complete Southern Seawater desalination plant

    The State Government has allocated an additional $32.9million over four years to the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) to enhance its fire management capacity, including employing additional fire specialists.

     

    The allocation will enable the department to implement recommendations of major reviews into recent bushfires as well as improving strategic infrastructure.

     

    Treasurer Christian Porter said the allocation was on top of DEC’s existing fire management budget of about $52million per year.

     

    “The additional funding reflects the Liberal-National Government’s commitment to implementing the recommendations in the Keelty reports following the Perth Hills and Margaret River fires last year and the Ferguson review of DEC’s ability to manage large fires,” Mr Porter said.

     

    The Treasurer said the $32.9million was part of an overall $81.9million allocation the Government had made in response to the Keelty reports.

     

    Environment and Water Minister Bill Marmion said a key focus of the DEC budget was supporting the community, especially in delivering targeted projects that would benefit all West Australians.

     

    “DEC’s budget also allocates almost $15.6million for a range of projects to improve visitor facilities and safety in national parks across the State,” Mr Marmion said.

     

    “This includes $8.845million in funding through the State Government Royalties for Regions program.”

     

    The Minister said budget allocations for the Government’s Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy ($9.744million to DEC in 2012-13); the Biodiversity and Cultural Strategy for the Great Western Woodlands ($1.588million); and the Environmental Community Grants program ($1.53million) reflected the Government’s ongoing delivery of its 2008 election commitments.

     

    “The Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy will see the creation of four new marine parks as well as a ‘conservation corridor’ linking Prince Regent and Drysdale River national parks,” he said.

     

    “The recently announced Camden Sound and Ngari Capes marine parks, which will be formally created next month, have also been allocated funding of $2.521million and $2.415million respectively in the 2012-13 State Budget for DEC and the Department of Fisheries.”

     

    The Liberal-National Government will also spend $3.6billion in 2012-13, and over the forward estimates period, to upgrade and build essential new infrastructure to secure WA’s water services for the long term.

     

    Mr Marmion said the most significant single water project in 2012-13 would be the expenditure of $260million to complete the expansion of the Southern Seawater Desalination Plant.

     

    “I am pleased to say that construction is on schedule and the plant will be commissioned in time to supply water for the 2012-13 summer,” Mr Marmion said. 

     

    “When the new stage reaches full production, about one-third of our drinking water will be supplied independently of rainfall.”

     

    Mr Porter said Perth’s dams would continue to take a back seat and new climate independent water sources, including the proposed groundwater replenishment initiative, would come to the fore.

     

    “In 2012-13, $2.5million will be spent on preliminary design and investigation works to ensure the Water Corporation is in a position to progress groundwater replenishment to a full-scale scheme,” he said. 

     

    “However, a decision to move to a full-scale scheme is, entirely dependent on the outcome of the Groundwater Replenishment Trial, which is scheduled to finish in December 2012.

     

    “These projects are part of the Government’s commitment to transforming the State and building the vision for our future.”

     

    Mr Marmion said that 47 per cent ($512million) of the $1billion Water Corporation capital budget for 2012-13 had been committed to hundreds of projects across regional WA.

     

    “This money will be spent on a broad suite of projects, including the high growth North-West and South-West regions,” he said.

     

    “It will ensure country WA continues to benefit strongly from the development and upgrading of water and wastewater infrastructure.”

     

          Fact file

    • Total budgeted cost of services for DEC is $359.673m (up from an estimated actual cost of $338.372m in 2011-12)
    • WA Budget statements available at: http://ourstatebudget.wa.gov.au

    Treasurer’s office - 6552 5600

    Environment and Water Minister’s office - 6552 6800