Independent MP, Andrew Wilkie asked PM Scott Morrison to adapt some specialised RAAF capability for firefighting.
Wilkie made the point that aircraft from the US won’t be as readily available now that the northern and southern hemisphere fire seasons overlap. Australia’s C17 Globemaster, C-130 Hercules and C-27 Spartan could all deploy roll-on, roll-off tank systems for water bombing, Wilkie said.
“Prime Minister, as the country deals with a shocking bushfire season, will you now direct Defence to develop a heavy firefighting aircraft capability?”
Morrison and Littleproud, amid a flurry of compliments and thanks to the RAAF and the firefighters, said no. The reason was that the fire chiefs had advised that they had enough assets already.
The fires that are burning in Northern New South Wales and Queensland are of unprecedented ferocity and size.
The bushfire season is just starting and Australia will be without the water bombers normally supplied by the Californian firefighting service.
I have already argued that we should be developing our own fleet of Elvis helicopters rather than be reliant upon the Americans
But it seems that the Prime Minister is unaware of the quantum leap in the intensity and severity of the bushfires this season and the difficulty that firefighting forces are going to have over summer.
Unfortunately, the Prime Minister seems to be stuck in some kind of ideological bind. By some perverse logic, it appears that if he acknowledges the severity of the bushfires, he must then accept they are linked to climate change.
And then the whole fiction of his defence of the coal industry comes crumbling down and that would never do