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Defence assistance to bushfire emergencies.

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The Hon. Fran Bailey, MP Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Defence

Media Release

21 Jan 2003



We would like to thank the Australian Defence Force personnel for their assistance to firefighters, emergency services and victims of the bushfires in the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and New South Wales.

We would also like to extend our condolences to the ADF member who tragically lost his wife and our sympathy to other personnel who lost their homes in the ACT fires.

The ADF has responded swiftly to requests for assistance from the ACT, Victoria and NSW to help to combat the bushfires.

The support includes helicopters, water tankers, fuel tankers, generators, accommodation, bedding and rations, graders, a fire truck and personnel to clear fire breaks.

As we have come to expect, Defence personnel have acted with the utmost professionalism, stamina and courage to support the efforts of the firefighters and emergency services workers this bushfire season. We would like to thank them on behalf of the Government for their work.

Our thoughts are also with the families and friends of people who have perished or been injured in the fires that have devastated so much of suburban Canberra.

The Defence community has been touched by the tragedy, with one serving member sadly losing his wife and other members losing their homes, and our sympathies are with them. We know Defence has already rallied to provide support, counselling and accommodation assistance.


Attached is a list of Defence support provided to the bushfire efforts, as at close of business on 20 January 2002.


Response to any disasters and emergencies in Australia rests with the relevant State and Territory Governments and their law enforcement and emergency service agencies. Commonwealth assistance to State and Territory Governments for emergencies is coordinated by Emergency Management Australia, which is part of the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department. The Australian Defence Force has responded to requests from the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and New South Wales to provide firefighting support under Defence Assistance to the Civil Community arrangements.

In the ACT, Defence is providing:

• 2 x AS350B Squirrel RAN Helicopters used for fire spotting • 2 x S-70B-2 Sea Hawk RAN Helicopters fitted with water buckets. • 4 x Bulldozers to build fire breaks. • 6 x 10,000Lt Air Force and Army water tankers • 2 x 4500Lt water tanker • 3 x UNIMOG trucks • 1x 10 000Lt Diesel Tanker • 1x 10 000Lt A1 Jet Fuel Tanker • 2 x 12-seater Buses with drivers • 1 x Air Force fire truck • 1 x Air Force fire ute • 10 x 15kVA generators to provide back up power for essential buildings • 5 x graders for road clearance • 1 x 30 000L water tanker truck to support firefighting • 30 x Personnel with Chainsaws • 6 x Defence Planners • 18 x Transport and Logistics Operations Staff • Air Force, Army and Navy personnel deployed to operate ADF assets. • Accommodation for 400 people at RMC and ADFA. • Bedding and some food for Erindale and Narrabundah Colleges Evacuee

Centres • Horse and Stock holding area at Majura Range • Dog Holding area at RAAF Base Fairbairn

In Victoria, 100 Army personnel have been deployed to assist with hand clearing fire breaks in rough country.

In NSW, the ADF deployed 1 x 10,000L fuel tanker before Christmas.