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WA pre-disaster season operational briefing



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Joint Media Release

The Hon Gary Gray MP Special Minister of State

The Hon Robert

McClelland MP Attorney-General

GG 54/11 14 October 2011

WA Pre-Disaster Season Operational Briefing

The Australian Government’s Emergency Management Australia will meet with police, fire authorities and other WA emergency services in Perth today as part of preparations for the upcoming bushfire and disaster season.

Attorney-General Robert McClelland said the operational briefings were being held in every State and Territory around the country with representatives from the EMA, the Bureau of Meteorology, Geoscience Australia, Australian Defence Force and Centrelink.

“Last year, Western Australia experienced the full spectrum of the disasters we face in Australia,” he said.

“Carnarvon and the Gascoyne suffered devastating floods, Tropical Cyclones brought significant damage to the Kimberley region, severe bushfires hit suburbs in Perth’s South-East, while many parts of the State suffered from the impact of major storms.

“Preparations for the upcoming summer disaster season have been underway for several months.

“Today’s operational briefing will include advice from Bureau of Meteorology and Geoscience Australia experts about the types of threats facing the country this summer.

“For Western Australia, good rainfall over the past year across all areas but the South West means increased vegetation and a greater risk of grassland fires.

“Prolonged drought conditions and lack of rainfall in the South West has resulted in a heightened risk of forest fires in the region.”

Special Minister of State Gary Gray said there was also a strong likelihood for a more severe tropical cyclone season.

“Seasonal outlook for Tropical Cyclones indicates an 80 per cent chance of more than the average numbers of cyclones this season cyclone,” he said.

“This includes a good chance of increased numbers in the northwest, which experiences an average of six cyclones a year.

“The rainfall outlook indicates weak to moderate odds favouring a wetter than average outlook for much of the state over the disaster period.

“The indication is that we’re facing a difficult disaster season which makes it more important than ever that all agencies are as prepared as they can be.

“The purpose of today’s briefing is so Australian Government agencies can provide a comprehensive overview of the support and services available to states and territories during disasters and emergencies.

“The Commonwealth works with communities to prevent, prepare, respond and recover from disasters - from disaster mitigation initiatives, and community awareness and warning measures, through to disaster relief and recovery support.“

Today’s briefing will include:

• information on the availability and capability of Commonwealth assets, including the ADF; • cooperative response procedures under the Australian Emergency Management Arrangements, such as the Commonwealth Disaster

Response Plan; • seasonal outlooks from the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) in relation to severe fire weather and cyclone activity; and • bushfire detection and mapping capabilities within Geoscience Australia.

Contact

Ryan Liddell - 02 6277 7300 or 0427 225 763 (Attorney General) John Arthur - 0408 991 261 (Special Minister of State)