📑 Government rejected major air-tanker expansion

Bookmarked Government rejected major air-tanker expansion (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Calls for a national air-tanker fleet to fight fires were rejected four years ago because the Coalition government said it was up to the states to fund firefighting.

David Crowe reports on some of the contention around funding and the availability of the appropriate resources. A significant voice in this debate has been former NSW Fire and Rescue commissioner Greg Mullins who suggests that there is too much uncertainty.

“The Prime Minister keeps saying that whatever the fire chiefs request, they get, but that’s not true,” Mr Mullins said. “The business case has been on the desk for two years. Had the fire chiefs had certainty with the $25 million, we would have more aircraft in the sky.”

This reminds me of the debates over Gonski, especially with Labor arguing for more funds.

Labor went to the last federal election promising an $80 million policy to create a national firefighting fleet to make up for a long-term fall in federal assistance. Then Labor leader Bill Shorten said the money would go towards at least six very large air-tankers as well as helicopters.

In many respects this comes back to ideology and the belief about how the government should operate.

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