Emergency Management

Emergency Management

Despite a 5% increase in Emergency Services Levy (ESL) revenue in 2024-25, the State Budget delivers little for Local Government emergency management.

WALGA’s Budget Submission sought funding for a range of initiatives to bolster the resilience of our communities to natural disasters, including increased funding for the Local Government Grant Scheme, Community Emergency Services Managers, bushfire mitigation activities, emergency planning and preparedness, building back better and improving road access in bushfire prone areas.


The Budget has allocated an additional $72 million to bolster emergency services. This is focussed on DFES operations, with funding for an additional 60 career firefighters, and $9 million to support DFES volunteer bushfire brigades, including equipment upgrades and stations.

The Budget also includes additional funding for the Emergency Rescue Helicopter Service and Critical Care Paramedic contracts, and the Air Operation Fleet to ensure the safety of Western Australians during emergencies.

A further $30 million will be provided to boost bushfire mitigation and frontline resources at priority locations across the State. This includes 34 additional State Government firefighting and fire management staff, and an extra eight fire trucks.

An additional $2 million per annum has been allocated for the Local Government Grant Scheme (LGGS).

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WALGA Comment

Any increase in emergency services funding is welcomed, however the funding in this Budget is almost entirely focussed on DFES career firefighters and volunteers, ignoring the pressing need for additional support for Local Government volunteer bushfire brigades. This is needed to ensure that volunteers have access to the same standards of facilities and equipment as their DFES counterparts.

WALGA’s Budget submission requested an increase in LGGS funding of $53.3 million in 2024-25 to fund a modest increase in LGGS operating grants, an audit of capital assets and to clear the backlog of capital grant requests for bushfire brigades. This funding is essential to attract and retain volunteers and keep our communities safe in the face of increasing bushfires and other natural disasters.

While WALGA is pleased to see a continuation of funding for the Mitigation Activity Fund (MAF) Grants Program into the forward estimates, the quantum of funding allocated for this program will not be enough for the increasing number of Local Governments with endorsed Bushfire Risk management Plans to undertake mitigation works on Crown Land. WALGA's State Budget Submission requested $15 million per annum to increase and expand the scope of the MAF Program to include community education and resilience building in area of high bushfire risk.

Despite strong advocacy by WALGA and Local Governments, the State Government has again not allocated any additional funding in the Budget for Community Emergency Services Managers (CESMs) in this year’s Budget. WALGA’s Budget Submission called for increased Emergency Services Levy funding to be provided to fully fund existing and additional CESMs. WALGA will continue to advocate that all interested Local Governments should have access to the CESM Program.

WALGA is also disappointed that no additional funding has been allocated to the All West Australians Reducing Emergencies (AWARE) Grant Program to build the emergency capacity of Local Governments to maintain effective Local Emergency Management Arrangements. Funding for AWARE has not increased since 2014 and WALGA’s budget submission sought the establishment of an enhanced $9 million funding program to support Local Government emergency planning and preparedness.

The State Budget also missed the chance to establish a reserve fund for disaster-resilient reconstruction of public assets. The Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Recovery Arrangements allow Commonwealth support for infrastructure rebuilding, but it depends on State or Local government contributions. However, few, if any, Local Governments can afford this, resulting in assets being restored as before. This was an opportunity for both State and Commonwealth to save long-term costs and enhance community resilience against increasingly severe weather events.

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