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ABARES insights into Australia’s forest fires

ABARES insights into Australia’s forest fires

Media Release 27 May 2020

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) today released its insights article: Stocktake of Fire in Australia’s forests, 2011 to 2016.

Principal Forest Scientist Dr Steve Read, who is also Acting Assistant Secretary of Biosecurity, Fisheries, Forestry and Land at ABARES, said the stocktake covers where and how often fire occurred in forests, the land tenures and forest types on which the fire occurred, and whether the fire was planned or unplanned.

“Fire is an important ecological driver in most Australian forests, whether the tall moist forests of south-eastern and south-western Australia or the woodlands of northern Australia,” Dr Read said.

“It influences the nature of entire forest ecosystems, including the presence or absence of individual species within these ecosystems, and is essential to ongoing ecosystem health and renewal.

“Fire can be both a destructive and a creative force, so understanding different fire regimes is important in deciding the optimal approach to fire management in different climatic regions, forest types, and in relation to impacts on people.

“The fire regime, that is, the frequency, intensity, seasonality and spatial pattern of fire, determines both the short-term and the long-term impacts of fire on forests.

“There is a distinct north-south divide in the fire regime experienced by Australia’s forests.

“Unplanned fires in forest in northern Australia are more frequent and occur over greater areas. Planned fire in northern Australia is also extensive, and generally of lower intensity and earlier in the dry season than unplanned fire.

“Unplanned fires in forests in southern Australia are less frequent than in northern Australia, but can be much more intense when they occur, and in some years (such as 2019–20) cover large areas. Planned fire in southern Australia generally occurs in small, discrete areas.

“There are different environmental and social impacts resulting from fires in forests in northern and southern Australia, and different management challenges.”

Read the ABARES Insights: Stocktake of Fire in Australia’s forests, 2011 to 2016 here: agriculture.gov.au/abares/publications/insights/stocktake-of-fire-in-Australias-forests-2011-2016

ABARES insights into Australia’s forest fires

Increased aerial support for Australia during bushfire season

Media Release 13 May

Australia’s aerial firefighting capability has today received an annual $11 million boost to ensure additional aircraft are available for the 2020-21 and future bushfire seasons.

Minister for Emergency Management David Littleproud said the additional funding, bringing the annual Australian Government investment to $26 million, would increase aerial firefighting capacity across the country helping the States and Territories to prepare for summer.

“The $11 million boost to the national aerial firefighting fleet was announced in January by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and comes on top of the $15 million we already deliver each year for aerial firefighting,” Minister Littleproud said.

“In previous fire seasons, these aircraft have been a comforting sight for people living in and around the bush.

“We recognise the vital role that aerial firefighting plays in protecting communities, and it’s their integration with the hard work of firefighters on the ground, along with a well-prepared community, that makes the difference.

“Most importantly, this investment by the Australian Government will save lives and property.”

The additional funding to the National Aerial Firefighting Centre will increase the length of existing lease arrangements and/or the number of contract opportunities available to aircraft owners/operators.

These aircraft, contracted on behalf of state and territory governments, are supplemented by additional state owned, and state contracted aircraft and other aircraft hired to meet peak demand across Australia.

The Australian Government is committed to working with states and territories to reduce the impacts of bushfires, and ensure the availability of resources to combat natural disasters.

ABARES insights into Australia’s forest fires

Bushfire Funding Bettered

Media Release 11 May 2020

The Federal Government is expected to spend $1 billion to help support people in bushfire affected areas by June, doubling the amount that was originally committed to the National Bushfire Recovery Agency in the current financial year.

Minister Littleproud thanked the head of the National Bushfire Recovery Agency

Andrew Colvin for coordinating the response.

“The Federal Government stood shoulder to shoulder with these communities through the initial response phase and we will stand shoulder to shoulder with them through the recovery phase,” Minister Littleproud said.

“New figures today shows the Federal Government has already spent $569.1 million on bushfire recovery.

“This should not to be confused with a figure Labor is circulating that originates from March.

Now is not the time for politics, the focus needs to remain on the delivery of funds to bushfire affected communities.

“Now is the time to come together and help these areas recover, to rebuild lives and livelihoods.

“This was always going to be a long term project but it is remarkable how quickly the money from the Bushfire Recovery Fund has become available.

“The agency will continue to work with communities and with the states to help them deliver the recovery programs.

“This locally led bushfire recovery is giving local groups a voice, local tradies work and local businesses a shot in the arm.

“This critical assistance is helping people get back on their feet and supporting local farmers and small businesses.”

ABARES insights into Australia’s forest fires

Bushfire Funding Bettered

Media Release 11 May 2020

The Federal Government is expected to spend $1 billion to help support people in bushfire affected areas by June, doubling the amount that was originally committed to the National Bushfire Recovery Agency in the current financial year.

Minister Littleproud thanked the head of the National Bushfire Recovery Agency

Andrew Colvin for coordinating the response.

“The Federal Government stood shoulder to shoulder with these communities through the initial response phase and we will stand shoulder to shoulder with them through the recovery phase,” Minister Littleproud said.

“New figures today shows the Federal Government has already spent $569.1 million on bushfire recovery.

“This should not to be confused with a figure Labor is circulating that originates from March.

Now is not the time for politics, the focus needs to remain on the delivery of funds to bushfire affected communities.

“Now is the time to come together and help these areas recover, to rebuild lives and livelihoods.

“This was always going to be a long term project but it is remarkable how quickly the money from the Bushfire Recovery Fund has become available.

“The agency will continue to work with communities and with the states to help them deliver the recovery programs.

“This locally led bushfire recovery is giving local groups a voice, local tradies work and local businesses a shot in the arm.

“This critical assistance is helping people get back on their feet and supporting local farmers and small businesses.”

ABARES insights into Australia’s forest fires

Grants to help communities affected by bushfires in Queensland

Media Release 6 May 2020

Community groups, local councils and non-government organisations in 23 communities from Cook to the Gold Coast will share in $1.8 million in flexible funding grants to support their ongoing recovery following the devastating 2019 Queensland bushfires.

Minister for Emergency Management David Littleproud said applications were now open to support community-led recovery and resilience programs in fire-affected communities in Queensland.

“Queensland communities were heavily impacted by the bushfires last year leaving an emotional toll on individuals, families and the wider community,” Minister Littleproud said.

“It is vitally important recovery efforts from the bushfires are locally-led and supported by the Commonwealth and Queensland governments and we are pleased to be able provide funding to help.

“We’ll continue to work closely with all bushfire-impacted communities to ensure they have the resources and support they need to make a complete recovery,” he said.

Minister for Communities Coralee O’Rourke said during the spring and summer of 2019 Queensland experienced the most extreme bushfires on record, causing devastation to communities across the state

“We know that the recovery from these fires will be a long-term process and we are in it for the long haul to support these communities get back on their feet,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

“These flexible funding grants will assist programs and projects that provide vital assistance to local people who have faced significant hardship and disruptions following the devastating bushfires.

“This can include community events or arts, sporting and cultural projects; commemorative public memorials; workshops and information sessions for future bushfire preparedness.”

Small grants of between $2500 and $50,000 and larger grants of between $50,001 and $100,000 are available.

The first round of the flexible funding grants is open to community groups, local councils and non-government organisations in the local government areas of Brisbane (City), Bundaberg, Gold Coast (City), Cook, Fraser Coast, Gladstone, Gympie, Ipswich, Livingstone, Lockyer Valley, Mareeba, Noosa, North Burnett, Redland, Rockhampton, Scenic Rim, Somerset, South Burnett, Southern Downs, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Townsville, and Whitsunday.

Flexible funding grants are being made available under the jointly funded Commonwealth-Queensland Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) through Category C Community Recovery Funds (CRF).

Grant applications close at 2pm on 3 June 2020.

Successful grant projects will be delivered in line with the latest health advice regarding COVID-19.

More information on the flexible funding grants, including how to submit an application, can be found at https://www.communities.qld.gov.au/industry-partners/funding-grants/funding-available.

For more information about community recovery visit https://www.qld.gov.au/community/disasters-emergencies/recovery-after-disaster

ABARES insights into Australia’s forest fires

Bushfire assistance grants available to Mareeba primary producers

Media Release 6 May 2020

Impacted farmers in the Mareeba Shire local government area now have access to grants of up to $75,000 to assist with their bushfire recovery.

The grants are being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

Federal Minister for Emergency Management David Littleproud said the grants would play an important role in supporting impacted farmers as they rebuild their businesses following last year’s devastating bushfires.

“The Queensland bushfires hit farmers hard last year when they were already vulnerable following years of drought,” Minister Littleproud said.

“Farmers, the staff they employ, and the industries that service them are a significant and important part of regional communities.

“These grants won’t just help the farmers, they will provide a valuable financial boost for communities that are struggling to deal with the economic impacts of the current Coronavirus pandemic.

“We will ensure these impacted communities are not forgotten or left to fend for themselves.”

Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the grants would be a lifeline for farmers who were dealing with the impact of unprecedented bushfires.

“The activation of these DRFA Category C grants ensures the Mareeba community has the support it needs,” Minister Furner said.

“Department of Agriculture and Fisheries staff worked closely with Mareeba primary producers to ensure they were able to access this special disaster assistance.

“The Queensland and Commonwealth governments are committed to working with farmers and supporting them until they are able to get back on their feet.”

Including Mareeba, 13 local government areas have been activated for the Category C primary producer grants including the Bundaberg, Gladstone, Gympie, Ipswich, Livingstone, Lockyer Valley, Noosa, Scenic Rim, Somerset, Southern Downs, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba local government areas.

For more information on eligibility for loans and grants for primary producers phone the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority on 1800 623 946.