THE state government ignored high-level advice to commit more than $25 million to increase fuel-reduction burns, despite warnings of more frequent and intense bushfires without an overhaul.
The Examiner understands the advice, received by the government early in 2011, recommended an additional $25.7 million over four years be spent and a single fuel-reduction unit be established to oversee all burns.
However, responsibility for fuel-reduction burns is still shared between the Tasmania Fire Service, the Parks and Wildlife Service and Forestry Tasmania.
Concerns have been raised that a dramatic drop in fuel-reduction burns contributed to January's devastating bushfires.
It is understood the proposal, endorsed by the State Fire Management Council, the fire service and Forestry Tasmania, was in response to a request for advice from then-premier David Bartlett after the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission.
The proposal had suggested the investment was likely to lead to future cost savings by preventing bushfires or reducing their spread.
However, the government rejected the idea and instead awarded just $400,000 extra to the fire service to work on an integrated approach.
Parks and Wildlife's funding for fuel-reduction burns was maintained at the existing level of about $500,000.
Yesterday, the state opposition called on Premier Lara Giddings to say what advice she had received, after she dodged a question in Parliament.
In September 2010, Mr Bartlett said the government would seek advice from the State Fire Management Council on fuel-reduction burns.
``Was the advice received? And if so, what did it say?'' opposition police and emergency management spokeswoman Elise Archer asked.
Ms Giddings said those questions were best left to an inquiry set up to investigate January's fires.
She accused the opposition of playing politics with the disaster.
Environment Minister Brian Wightman said fewer broad-scale burns had been conducted in favour of more strategic burns to protect infrastructure.