Tuesday, 30 June 2020

North Queensland-based Senator, Susan McDonald, has hailed as a win for farmers and regional communities the Federal Government’s agreement to fund the North Australia and Rangelands Fire Information Service for at least another year. A $729,006 Australian Government investment in Charles Darwin University will ensure the NAFI continues to provide life and property-saving fire tracking data to land managers, indigenous communities, cattle producers and those overseeing savannah fire management projects.
“I know many pastoralists and remote residents will sleep a lot easier knowing they can still access this service,” said Senator McDonald.
“Being able to track a fire can truly be the difference between moving your family and livestock to safety or losing everything.
“This is a great initiative that people in the Outback will be grateful for.”
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the service provides satellite-based fire mapping for all of north Australia and the Australian rangelands, with the exception of Western NSW.
“This is a proven, near real time fire tracking tool used extensively by many different land managers,” Minister Littleproud said.
“The cattle industry uses it to help protect livestock, fodder and infrastructure, saving it millions of dollars a year, and Traditional Owners use it to help manage Country.
“Data is everything when it comes to effective fire management and NAFI is the key provider of uniformly accurate fire histories across this vast area.
“This information is needed for planning, assessing, and reporting on fire management, and for measuring fire-based emissions.
“Agriculture will drive the nation’s COVID recovery, so it is critical the Australian Government helps ensure farmers continue to access cost-saving technologies like this.”
Minister Taylor said NAFI provides crucial information to help map the extent of savanna burning across Northern Australia, including for projects under the Emissions Reduction Fund.
“Savanna burning projects recognise and build on traditional knowledge and practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. 
“NAFI is a valuable tool to help Australia measure and manage its carbon reductions from avoiding late season wildfires in the savanna region.”
Senator McDonald said the NAFI website recorded more than one million hits per month last fire season.
“The NAFI website is currently hosted by Charles Darwin University through the Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research,” she said.
“The NAFI service is another fantastic example of Top End innovation and we welcome the Government’s continued support of the people behind the website and the communities and industries it supports.
“Input into this important service is driven from rangelands land managers (including park rangers, pastoralists, indigenous rangers). This investment also recognises the very hard work of the many stakeholders involved.”
The funding comprises $407,125 from the Building Landcare Community and Capacity (BLCC) of the Smart Farms Program and $321,881 from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.