Western Australia will get an $80 million specialist rural fire division at the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, as recommended in an independent report into the deadly Yarloop bushfire.Premier Mark McGowan said the emergency services levy would fund the division, with a $28 increase for metropolitan landowners from July 1, and between $8 and $17 in the regions."We've all seen what's happened every single summer over the last 10 years with these huge bushfires and we want to put our volunteers in the best position to be able to deal with this across the state, and unfortunately that does cost," Mr McGowan told reporters on Friday.The Euan Ferguson report into the Yarloop/Waroona bushfire, which killed two elderly men and destroyed 181 properties, recommended either an independent rural fire service or a division at DFES.Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan said the price of an independent service would be horrendous, given it cost more than $600 million in Victoria and nearly $350 million in NSW.The operational and management structure of volunteer bushfire brigades will remain with local governments.An $18 million Bushfire Centre of Excellence will also be created to enhance bushfire management and provide a special facility for volunteers to train, while bushfire mitigation efforts will be bolstered by $34.6 million.Mr Logan said he hoped it would not take a massive bushfire to test the new model."I hope we never see another Waroona again. But as we face a further drying climate and the likelihood of mega fires, we hope that with the investment we make in mitigation ... if the mega fires do exist they're contained within an area and they don't threaten lives and property," he said.Stakeholders, including firefighting unions, had backed the changes, Mr Logan said.
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