Govt to spend $35m on planes managing natural disasters

Government says that the aircraft will form part of the national fleet, much of which is based here in Richmond. This means they can be dispatched to natural disasters in all States and territories across the country, but many details have not been decided on. Minister Watt says the aircraft will serve multiple functions, delivering aid and evacuating citizens, in addition to fighting fires. But it's yet to be revealed exactly what types of aircraft will be acquired, how many there will be, and whether or not they will be bought or leased. Over the last few years, we've all learned the importance of having adequate numbers and types of aircraft for water bombing from the air, for bushfires, but also during floods to help with evacuations, food drops and delivering equipment to disaster areas. And as climate change is bringing more natural disasters to Australia, we need to invest more to make sure that we are better prepared. Now that we've made the funding commitment in the budget, we will do some further consultation with the States and territories about exactly what type of aircraft they're looking for and exactly how many we should be delivering. What has been made clear is that the new aircrafts will be available for the start of Bush fire season this year.

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