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National Aerial Firefighting Strategy

(Contributing division: Territories and Local Government) Achieved

Effectiveness: Improved state and territory aerial firefighting capability

Cost: $5.5 million

In September 2002, following consideration of the report of the Australasian Fire Authorities Council (AFAC) on aerial firefighting, the government announced it would provide $5.5 million to meet half the leasing and positioning costs of three Erickson Air-Crane helitankers. This funding was provided in recognition of the expected severity of the 2002-03 bushfire season.

In January 2003 the Prime Minister announced an additional $2.1 million in Commonwealth funding to meet half the leasing and positioning costs of two extra Erickson Air-Crane helitankers. The Prime Minister also announced funding of $550 000 to assist Western Australia and South Australia with costs for medium fixed-wing fire fighting aircraft for the 2002-03 season.

On 6 June 2003 the AFAC commenced a tender process for high capacity aircraft requirements as part of a coordinated approach to aerial firefighting. The department is continuing to be involved in discussions with AFAC concerning the establishment of the management regime.

A total of $7.1 million was expensed in 2002-03.

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