Oolong Sanctuary  banner created by J. K. Phillips
Home Page ButtonBUSHFIRE CONTROL - Information

Bushfire Budget

The report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) on annual Cost of Defence details the ins and outs of the 2014 Defence budget. Here’s a preliminary analysis of the key points.
In the current fiscal environment, it was a surprisingly good budget for Defence. Spending will rise to $29.3 billion next FINANCIAL year, a nominal increase of $2.3 billion on what was spent this year and a real (corrected for inflation) increase of 6.1%. As a share of GDP, defence spending will rise from 1.7% this financial year to 1.8% next year.

The key initiatives in this year’s defence budget was the reprogramming of $2 billion from 2017–18 which resulted in an additional $500 million this year (2013–14) and an additional $300 million, $550 million and $150 million respectively across the next three years. Yes, that’s right; despite the government’s fiscal consolidation, Defence will get EXTRA MONEY four years in a row.

On the savings front, there’s $1.2 billion to be saved over the next four years from ‘back office’ reforms, all of which will be available for reinvestment in capability—ie Defence will retain the MONEY generated. Consistent with this, the number of civilians employed will fall from 20,900 today to 18,600 in four years’ time.

Over the next three years, defence spending is slated to remain largely static in real terms before rising to $30.6 billion in 2017–18. Beyond that, we don’t have visibility of what’s planned. But for the government to make good on its promise to boost defence spending to 2% of GDP by 2023–24, they would need to increase defence spending by around 5.3% every year for the six years following the forward estimates period.

On past experience, a sustained 5.3% rate of growth will be challenging to achieve. During the 2000s, when defence spending was growing at around 3% a year, Defence and defence industry had trouble absorbing the increase—to the extent that substantial sums of MONEY were handed back.

However, this time, there are 3–4 years available to prepare for the ramp-up so we can perhaps be more optimistic. Moreover, there’s nothing to stop the government from using future budgets to ease the task by commencing growth towards 2% of GDP prior to 2017–18. Indeed, one of the critical decisions for the forthcoming white paper will be the FUNDING envelope from 2015 onwards. A potential complication is that the government plans to return the Commonwealth to surplus around 2018–19, just after it looks as though defence spending will take off. If the government’s fiscal projections turn out to be overly optimistic, there’ll be pressure for further savings in order to preserve the surplus. If this happens, defence spending can’t expect to be immune.

Notwithstanding that risk, this year’s defence budget is about as good as it gets in an environment dominated by fiscal concerns. Not only has Defence received MORE MONEY in the near term, but a credible path to 2% of GDP has been established.
Mark Thomson is senior analyst for defence economics at ASPI. Graph (c) ASPI 2014.

Estimating the cost of fire in Australia now and in 2020.

RMIT University, Program C, Project 5.
Losses in 2006 $13,491 million, losses in 2020 $18,087 million (2006 prices).
(A summary of the project was prsented at the III International Symposium on Fire Economics, Planning and Policy: Common Problems and Approaches, Carolina, Puerto Rico. April 29 - May 2, 2008). http://customers.net.au/~gianni/PDF/ganewatta.PDF).

More bushfire control information

2016_Bushfire_Factsheet (pdf)


Waroona Complex Fires, Western Australia
An independent enquiry will be led by Mr Euan Ferguson AFSM. The enquiry will examine all aspects of the fires including the response to the fires by all agencies. The report will be made available to the public. A copy of the detailed information in our report has been provided to the Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner for consideration as part of an internal DFES review of the Waroona fires. (Personal communication by the Hon Joe Francis MLA on 18 March, 2016)

Pilot test on bushfire in NSW:

In NSW there is preparation for a large aircraft to conduct a pilot test on bushfire. This is a smoke screen to demonstrate that the test is expensive and risky! Following the recommendation in our report the only adequate test on air suppression of bushfire on their onset is by Aircranes operating day and night with suitable visual equipment. Three Erickson Aircranes (already tested six years ago with adequate visual equipment) should be set close to any area prone to bushfire ready to act immediately. If the authorities will still consider the proposed test too expensive and risky the inevitable solution is for the ADF taking over this annual phase of bushfire operation. It will require a network of stations and a number of Aircranes to protect our bush, wildlife and population in the bush. The ADF to recruit and train the personnel in cooperation with experts in the field.

More information and the latest developments can be seen on our Latest Developments page

Home | Friends | News | Projects | History | Conservation Program | Strategic Direction | Habitat/Remnants | Farmers | Bushfire Control | Bushfire Info | School Program Testimonials | Scientific Advisory Board | Supporters | Flora | Fauna | Archaeological | Statistical Model | Membership | Location Details | Contact