24 State Fire Commission

Authority Outline

The State Fire Commission's primary purpose is to minimise the social, economic and environmental impact of fire on the Tasmanian community. This is pursued through the provision of a rapid and effective response to emergencies and through the delivery of a broad range of fire prevention, reduction and safety programs.

The Commission is also responsible for:

       road crash rescue (in Hobart, Launceston, Burnie, Devonport and surrounding areas);

       managing incidents involving hazardous materials;

       providing an Urban Search and Rescue capability to manage the rescue of people from collapsed buildings and structures; and

       providing a rescue/mitigation response to terrorist incidents involving chemical, biological and radiological agents.

A Fuel Reduction Unit (FRU) has been established within the Tasmania Fire Service, and has a key role in coordinating the implementation of the Fuel Reduction Program across the whole‑of‑Government.

The State Fire Commission reports to the Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management, Hon Rene Hidding MP, and the supporting agency is the Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management. The Commission delivers all of its services through its operational arm, the Tasmania Fire Service.

This chapter provides the State Fire Commission's financial information for 2016‑17 and over the Forward Estimates period (2017‑18 to 2019‑20). Further information on the Commission can be found at www.fire.tas.gov.au.


Key Deliverables

Table 24.1 provides a summary of the Budget and Forward Estimate allocations for key deliverables by the Commission.

Table 24.1: Key Deliverables Statement

 

2016‑17

2017‑18

2018‑19

2019‑20

 

 

Budget

Forward

Estimate

Forward

Estimate

Forward

Estimate

 

$'000

$'000

$'000

$'000

 

 

 

 

 

Bushfire Ready Neighbourhoods Program

577

588

600

612

Fire Fighting Appliance Replacement Program

3 200

3 450

4 150

3 200

Fire Station Build Program

2 000

1 330

1 095

1 000

Fuel Reduction Program1

9 000

9 000

....

....

Information Technology Replacement Program

390

390

340

390

State Emergency Service Transition to the Tasmania Fire Service2

2 012

1 431

....

....

State Fire Management Council

622

634

647

660

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

1. The program is funded until 2017‑18 and the program will be reviewed during 2016‑17 with ongoing funding to be considered in the context of future budgets.

2. Funding for two years has been provided by the Government to assist in the transition of the State Emergency Service to the State Fire Commission whilst a longer term sustainable funding model is developed.

Bushfire Ready Neighbourhoods Program

The Bushfire Ready Neighbourhoods Program commenced in 2013‑14. This Program is included in the Commission's corporate plan at a total cost of $2.4 million. For many years, the Commission has been providing high quality bushfire information, which has led to an increase in awareness of bushfire risk and intention to take appropriate action. However, there are still many households in Tasmania that are not prepared for bushfire. This Program engages with people in bushfire‑prone communities, and strengthens community networks and community members' capacity to prepare for bushfires.

Fire Fighting Appliance Replacement Program

The Commission is committed to providing its fire fighters with safe and operationally effective fire trucks, allocated using a 'fitness for purpose' rationale. Each appliance category has an established, defined role and functionality, with a specific scope of application which is considered in the process of allocation to brigades matched to risk. The Commission has an endorsed rolling and sustainable fire truck replacement program that will ultimately result in a decline in the maximum age of its operational fleet of trucks and ensure that all trucks remain viable for operations in a safe and effective manner.

Total funding of $14 million over a four year period has been allocated to the Fire Fighting Appliance Replacement Program, which will see the light tanker category of appliances upgraded with the commissioning of 32 internally designed and fabricated appliances, allowing the decommissioning of 32 ageing light tanker appliances in excess of 30 years of age. The program will see the internal design and fabrication of up to 65 tanker appliances of medium and heavy category, enhanced with compressed air foam (CAF) capability once again replacing ageing appliances in these categories.

The Budget allows for the purchase of one new aerial platform, and funds the majority of the second aerial appliance during this period.

Fire Station Build Program

Total funding of $5.4 million has been allocated over the next four years for capital upgrades to Commission facilities which will include a combination of replacement and refurbishment of fire stations. One of the key outcomes of the program will be further reducing the exposure to diesel particulate through better station design; this will include the separation of fire fighter's personal protective clothing from firefighting appliance diesel exhaust. This separation provides the added benefit of further eliminating any exposure to the possibility of residual contaminants in protective clothing used in firefighting. This measure is consistent with mitigating actions related to presumptive legislation for cancer in fire fighters.

Fuel Reduction Unit

The Government has committed to significantly increase fuel reduction burning across the State. Strategically reducing risk in the areas that provide the most protection to communities is the priority; therefore, areas of both private and public land are included ‑ a 'tenure‑blind' approach.

Funding has been transferred from the Department of Primary Industry, Parks, Water and Environment to the Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management from 2016‑17 for two years and is reflected in chapter 7 of this Budget Paper. The program is funded until 2017‑18 and the program will be reviewed during 2016‑17 with ongoing funding to be considered in the context of future budgets.

A Fuel Reduction Unit (FRU) has been established within the Tasmania Fire Service, and has a key role in coordinating the implementation of the program across the whole‑of‑Government. The Fuel Reduction Program utilises the resources of the Tasmania Fire Service, the Parks and Wildlife Service, Forestry Tasmania and local councils to mitigate bushfire risk in a strategic, systematic way in urban, semi‑rural and some wilderness areas.

Of the Government's election commitment, which allocated total funding of $28.5 million over four years from 2014‑15, remaining funding of $18 million will be expended in 2016‑17 and 2017‑18. The program takes a strategic approach, and whilst other fuel treatments can and will be employed (for example mechanical removal), planned burning remains the most cost effective tool available for managing vegetation fuel loads, at the scale that is currently required.

Information Technology Replacement Program

The Information Technology infrastructure budget for 2016‑17 will focus on integration of centralised server and storage capacity. This will follow the whole‑of‑government strategy towards the 'Tasmanian Cloud' policy. There will also be progression on network connection improvements and end user device replacements.

State Emergency Service Transition to the Tasmania Fire Service

Funding for two years has been provided by the Government to assist in the transition of the State Emergency Service to the State Fire Commission whilst sustainable funding options are developed. Management arrangements were revised in 2014‑15 and the State Emergency Service now reports through the State Fire Commission.

The additional funding has been provided to the Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management and is reflected in chapter 7 of this Budget Paper.

State Fire Management Council

The State Fire Management Council (SFMC) is an independently chaired body established under section 14 of the Fire Service Act 1979. It has the following functions:

       to develop a state vegetation fire management policy to be used as the basis for all fire management planning;

       to advise and report regularly to the Minister on such matters relating to the administration of the Fire Service Act, as it applies to vegetation fire management; and

       to provide advice to the State Fire Commission regarding the prevention and mitigation of vegetation fires.

Legislative amendments in 2012 increased the roles and responsibilities of the SFMC, particularly in regard to re‑establishing Fire Management Area Committees (FMACs) with broader strategic fire management goals. In order to meet these enhanced responsibilities, the Commission provides the necessary bushfire planning and risk assessment expertise, and administrative support to both the SFMC and FMACs.

The SFMC plays a key role in the development of implementation strategies to deliver the Government's Fuel Reduction Program that delivers a tenure blind, risk based program of burns to reduce fuel in the areas that pose the greatest risk to the Tasmanian community. The State Fire Commission will contribute an additional $622 000 in 2016‑17, including $398 000 for the employment of four staff to support the Fuel Reduction Unit.

2016 Bushfire Emergency

During 2015‑16, significant additional funding has been provided by the Government to assist in managing the costs associated with the January 2016 bushfires. To date, total additional funding of $31 million has been provided to the Tasmania Fire Service in response to the bushfire emergency. This funding comprised $21 million in Requests for Additional Funds and $10 million within the Consolidated Fund Appropriation (Supplementary Appropriation for 2015‑16) Act 2016.

The Tasmania Fire Service is continuing the process of finalising the total costs of the January 2016 bushfires. At this time, there remains a significant level of uncertainty in relation to the total cost and timing of further funding requirements. In particular, the level of costs and timing of payments relating to assistance provided by interstate firefighters and other jurisdictions are yet to be finalised. As a result, there is a potential for additional funding to be required in coming months.

The State will be reimbursed by the Australian Government for some costs relating to the bushfires under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA). There is also potential for some costs associated with the bushfires to be reimbursed through claims made under the Tasmanian Risk Management Fund (TRMF). Whilst work in relation to progressing claims under both the NDRRA and TRMF is continuing, an estimate of receipts from the Australian Government under the NDRRA of $13 million in 2016‑17 has been included in the 2016‑17 Budget within Finance‑General.


Detailed Budget Statements

Table 24.2: Statement of Comprehensive Income

 

2015-16)

 

Budget)

2016-17)

 

Budget)

2017-18)

Forward)

Estimate)

2018-19)

Forward)

Estimate)

2019-20)

Forward)

Estimate)

 

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue and other income from transactions

 

 

 

 

 

Grants1

4 989)

6 062)

5 506)

4 100)

4 125)

Taxation

64 689)

67 197)

70 210)

72 889)

75 975)

Sales of goods and services

5 874)

6 001)

6 121)

6 244)

6 369)

Fees and fines2

....)

164)

167)

171)

174)

Interest

51)

10)

10)

10)

11)

Other revenue3

1 573)

10 403)

10 432)

1 461)

1 490)

Total revenue and other income from transactions

77 176)

89 837)

92 446)

84 875)

88 144)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expenses from transactions

 

 

 

 

 

Employee benefits3,4

48 024)

52 454)

53 477)

51 926)

53 150)

Depreciation and amortisation

6 937)

6 879)

6 666)

6 539)

6 390)

Supplies and consumables3,5

21 887)

28 772)

29 204)

23 266)

23 528)

Borrowing costs

330)

418)

397)

393)

393)

Other expenses5

3 892)

2 943)

3 061)

3 128)

3 191)

Total expenses from transactions

81 070)

91 466)

92 805)

85 252)

86 652)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net result from transactions (net operating balance)

(3 894)

(1 629)

(359)

(377)

1 492)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net result

(3 894)

(1 629)

(359)

(377)

1 492)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other economic flows - other non-owner changes in equity

 

 

 

 

 

Other movements taken directly to equity6

....)

(505)

....)

....)

....)

Total other economic flows - other non-owner changes in equity

....)

(505)

....)

....)

....)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comprehensive result

(3 894)

(2 134)

(359)

(377)

1 492)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

1.   The increase in Grants in 2016‑17 and 2017‑18 reflects the additional two years of SES expenditure as part of the State Emergency Service Transition to the Tasmania Fire Service. The decrease in 2018‑19 reflects the cessation of this funding.

2.   The increase in Fees and fines in 2016‑17 is due to the reclassification of building inspection fees from Other revenue.

3.   The increase in Other revenue, Employee benefits and Supplies and consumables in 2016‑17 and 2017‑18 reflects the transfer of Fuel Reduction funding from the Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management, and the expenditure of this funding by the Fuel Reduction Unit. The Fuel Reduction Program is funded until 2017‑18 and the program will be reviewed during 2016‑17 with ongoing funding to be considered in the context of future budgets. Given the responsibility for the FRU in the Tasmania Fire Service, it is appropriate that the funding be transferred to the Commission.

4.   The increase in Employee benefits in 2016‑17 also reflects award increases for salaries.

5.   The increase in Supplies and consumables in 2016‑17 also reflects the reclassification of cost of sales from Other expenses.

6.   The Other movements taken directly to equity in 2016‑17 reflects the timing of movements in the Commission's superannuation liability.

Table 24.3: Statement of Financial Position as at 30 June

 

2016)

 

Budget)

2017)

 

Budget)

2018)

Forward)

Estimate)

2019)

Forward)

Estimate)

2020)

Forward)

Estimate)

 

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assets

 

 

 

 

 

Financial assets

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and deposits

505)

(1 152)

(220)

87)

3 259)

Receivables

1 522)

1 816)

1 816)

1 816)

1 816)

Other financial assets1

1 743)

1 657)

1 657)

1 657)

1 657)

 

3 770)

2 321)

3 253)

3 560)

6 732)

Non‑financial assets

 

 

 

 

 

Inventories

1 438)

1 634)

1 634)

1 634)

1 634)

Property, plant and equipment2

102 303)

104 016)

103 324)

103 240)

102 359)

Other assets

1 211)

1 446)

1 446)

1 446)

1 446)

 

104 952)

107 096)

106 404)

106 320)

105 439)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total assets

108 722)

109 417)

109 657)

109 880)

112 171)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liabilities

 

 

 

 

 

Payables3

1 664)

2 336)

2 336)

2 336)

2 536)

Interest bearing liabilities

4 830)

4 830)

4 830)

4 830)

4 830)

Employee benefits

15 022)

15 766)

16 365)

16 965)

17 564)

Superannuation4

1 176)

316)

316)

316)

316)

Other liabilities5

323)

....)

....)

....)

....)

Total liabilities

23 015)

23 248)

23 847)

24 447)

25 246)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net assets (liabilities)

85 707)

86 169)

85 810)

85 433)

86 925)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equity

 

 

 

 

 

Reserves2

17 732)

18 916)

18 916)

18 916)

18 916)

Accumulated funds

67 975)

67 253)

66 894)

66 517)

68 009)

Total equity

85 707)

86 169)

85 810)

85 433)

86 925)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

1. The decrease in Other financial assets reflects a more accurate estimate for accrued revenue based on the 30 June 2015 outcome.

2. The increase in Property, plant and equipment and Reserves in 2017 reflects a more accurate estimate of assets based on the 30 June 2015 outcome.


 

3. The increase in Payables in 2016‑17 is due to the reclassification of income received in advance from Other liabilities and anticipated increases in trade creditors.

4. The decrease in Superannuation in 2016-17 reflects a more accurate estimate for the defined benefit superannuation plan based on the 30 June 2015 outcome.

5. The decrease in Other liabilities in 2016-17 is due to the reclassification of income received in advance to Payables.


 

Table 24.4: Statement of Cash Flows

 

2015-16)

 

Budget)

2016-17)

 

Budget)

2017-18)

Forward)

Estimate)

2018-19)

Forward)

Estimate)

2019-20)

Forward)

Estimate)

 

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash flows from operating activities

 

 

 

 

 

Cash inflows

 

 

 

 

 

Grants1

4 989)

6 062)

5 506)

4 100)

4 125)

Taxation

64 689)

65 276)

68 173)

70 770)

73 730)

Sales of goods and services

5 874)

6 001)

6 121)

6 244)

6 369)

Fees and fines2

....)

164)

167)

171)

174)

GST receipts3

....)

1 895)

1 868)

1 939)

1 852)

Interest received

51)

10)

10)

10)

11)

Other cash receipts4

1 274)

10 404)

10 432)

1 461)

1 490)

Total cash inflows

76 877)

89 812)

92 277)

84 695)

87 751)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash outflows

 

 

 

 

 

Employee benefits4,5

(42 669)

(47 126)

(47 960)

(46 291)

(47 402)

Superannuation

(5 355)

(5 328)

(5 517)

(5 635)

(5 748)

Borrowing costs

(330)

(418)

(397)

(393)

(393)

GST payments3

....)

(1 895)

(1 868)

(1 939)

(1 852)

Supplies and consumables4

(24 247)

(26 561)

(27 077)

(21 057)

(20 993)

Other cash payments

(2 943)

(2 943)

(3 061)

(3 128)

(3 191)

Total cash outflows

(75 544)

(84 271)

(85 880)

(78 443)

(79 579)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net cash from (used by) operating activities

1 333)

5 541)

6 397)

6 252)

8 172)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash flows from investing activities

 

 

 

 

 

Payments for acquisition of non-financial assets

(4 120)

(6 320)

(5 765)

(6 245)

(5 300)

Proceeds from the disposal of non-financial assets

300)

300)

300)

300)

300)

Net cash from (used by) investing activities

(3 820)

(6 020)

(5 465)

(5 945)

(5 000)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash flows from financing activities

 

 

 

 

 

Net borrowings

1 500)

....)

....)

....)

....)

Net cash from (used by) financing activities

1 500)

....)

....)

....)

....)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents held

(987)

(479)

932)

307)

3 172)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and deposits at the beginning of the reporting period

1 492)

(673)

(1 152)

(220)

87)

Cash and deposits at the end of the reporting period

505)

(1 152)

(220)

87)

3 259)

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Notes:

1.   The increase in Grants in 2016‑17 and 2017‑18 reflects the additional two years of SES expenditure as part of the State Emergency Service Transition to the Tasmania Fire Service.

2.   The increase in Fees and fines in 2016‑17 is due to the reclassification of building inspection fees from Other cash receipts.

3.   The increase in GST receipts and GST payments in 2016‑17 reflects the introduction of GST items which had previously not been recognised in the Budget estimates.

4.   The increase in Other cash receipts, Employee benefits and Supplies and consumables in 2016‑17 and 2017‑18 reflects the transfer of Fuel Reduction funding from the Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management, and the expenditure of this funding by the Fuel Reduction Unit. The Fuel Reduction Program is funded until 2017‑18 and the program will be reviewed during 2016‑17 with ongoing funding to be considered in the context of future budgets. Given the responsibility for the FRU in the Tasmania Fire Service, it is appropriate that the funding be transferred to the Commission.

5.   The increase in Employee benefits in 2016‑17 also reflects award increases for salaries.