QUEENSLAND will have access to its own Large Air Tanker this bushfire season, providing fast and effective support to crews on the ground.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has confirmed the state government has leased the aircraft from Canada at a cost of $15 million over five years.
The 10,000 litre plane will be permanently based in Bundaberg along with the two-pilot crew.
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“We know that Queensland was hit really hard by the bushfires last year,” Premier Palaszczuk said.
“It had a huge impact.
“Queenslanders can feel comfort that we have our own resource right here on our doorstep.”
Queensland Fire and Emergency Service Commissioner Greg Leach said it adds significant capability to their fleet.
“The aircraft can hold 10,000 litres of water or firefighter retardant or firefighting gel and it can be deployed anywhere within an hour,” Commissioner Leach said.
Last bushfire season 7.7 million hectares were scorched across Queensland, destroying homes and businesses.
— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) September 16, 2020
The Commissioner said the aircraft could be sent to other states in Australia if needed.
Last year, Queensland had to call on New South Wales for aerial assistance during our horrific bushfire season, only for the planes to be turned around to battle fresh blazes down south.
“This aircraft has been sourced through the National Aircraft Firefighting Centre. It’s contracted here to Queensland for a number of months and when the Queensland bushfire season abates this aircraft will move south into the southern state to support them in their bushfire season,” he said.
“We could offer the support to other states just like other states will offer their aircraft to us if we need it.”