The Minister for Emergency Services is writing to Federal Minister for Justice Michael Keenan requesting the Commonwealth to consider extending the contracts for two Large Air Tankers (LATs) based in New South Wales.
The LATs are some of the biggest firefighting aircraft in the world and provide support to Victoria and South Australia during large bushfires.
The contracts for the NSW LATs expire on December 4 and January 16. They are part of the national airfleet which can move between states as required.
With a long, hot and dry season ahead, Ms Garrett travelled to South Australia today to meet with SA Minister for Emergency Services Tony Piccolo to discuss resources and to continue a close work with our interstate colleagues.
The Andrews Labor Government has spent more than $20 million to secure Victoria’s largest ever fleet of 47 aircraft this summer, including two Large Air Tankers to be based at Avalon.
Ms Garrett said the NSW LATs would support our existing fleet and allow us to assist South Australia during bushfires interstate.
Large air tankers have the capability to drop large loads of fire retardant at a time and can fly in conditions when other aircraft cannot operate.
Victorian Minister for Emergency Services Jane Garrett
“We are bracing for a long, hot and dry fire season and we want to make sure we have the maximum air power to fight bushfires. That’s why I am asking the Federal Government to consider funding the extension of two key pieces of firefighting arsenal.”
“A fleet of four large air tankers would bolster our firefighting capacity and it means Victoria can lend a helping hand to South Australia if there are fires burning interstate.”
South Australian Minister for Emergency Services Tony Piccolo
“There is a long standing relationship between South Australia and Victoria to provide support during major incidents.”
“This is shaping up to be a very challenging fire season for both States.”
“I am pleased to welcome Minister Garrett to South Australia today so we can share ideas and discuss preparations for the bushfire season.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020