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Skycrane arrives in Canberra for bushfire season.



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ATTORNEY-GENERAL THE HON ROBERT McCLELLAND MP

NEWS RELEASE

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600  Telephone (02) 6277 7300  Fax (02) 6273 4102 www.ag.gov.au/ag

13 December 2007 002/2007

SKYCRANE ARRIVES IN CANBERRA FOR BUSHFIRE SEASON

Attorney-General Robert McClelland has today welcomed the arrival of an Erickson Skycrane helicopter to assist in the ACT region’s firefighting capability.

“These aircraft have a proven track record and are a welcome addition to our emergency management capacity for the bushfire season,” Mr McClelland said.

“The use of aircraft for aerial firefighting has grown in Australia over recent years. Water bombing aircraft are now a very visible feature of firefighting operations each fire season, particularly at rural-urban boundaries where they can provide rapid and effective fire suppression.”

The Canberra-based Skycrane is one of four available in Australia for the bushfire season, and forms part of the Australian Government’s commitment of $41.2 million over four years to assist the States and Territories to fund firefighting aircraft.

“Since its implementation, the initiative has allowed for at least 32 aircraft to be contracted through the National Aerial Firefighting Centre in the 2007-08 season, an increase from the 25 available last season,” Mr McClelland said.

“Aircraft offer three major advantages over ground-based firefighters; speed, access and observation. We have seen this effectively demonstrated just recently in the Kangaroo Island bushfires.”

The Skycrane helicopters are currently based in NSW, Victoria and the ACT and will be repositioned to other operational areas as required.

“These national arrangements are an example of Australia's firefighting and land management agencies working together to provide greater community fire protection,” Mr McClelland said.

Media Contact: Tom Cameron 0417 147 932