The Australian Greens have today announced a plan to invest half a billion dollars to create a National Disaster Response Unit with the capacity to respond to emergencies like the Tasmanian bushfires or floods in Queensland.
“Climate change is hurting our communities and environment now,” said Senator Richard Di Natale, Australian Greens Leader.
“2018 has just been named the 4th hottest year on record, making the last five years the hottest period since modern measurement began.”
“The science is clear – we will experience more climate-driven disasters like the Tasmanian bushfires and Townsville floods.”
“We need to take stronger action when these disasters occur.”
“This is why the Greens will invest $500 million to create a National Disaster Response Unit,” said Senator Di Natale.
"We'll transform the National Aerial Firefighting Centre to broaden its mandate and equip it with the capacity to respond to emergencies across Australia within hours, on the request of state and territory governments,” said Nick McKim, Greens Senator for Tasmania and spokesperson on Emergency Services.
“We will replace its leased fleet with a new, standing 24/7 capability to respond to remote natural disasters in a way that’s speedy, effective, and specialised."
“This is a major response to the new normal we are collectively facing because of the breakdown of our climate.”
“It would allow remote area fires like those in Tasmania to be hit harder and earlier, and for specialist crews to assist in protecting lives and properties in floods like we are seeing in Queensland.”
“The Unit would consist of rapid response aircraft and vehicles, and up to 200 people trained in all aspects of disaster response from remote area fire-fighting to flood rescue.”
“The funding contains $280 million for new aircraft, which could support an air fleet including:
• 2 Very Large Air Tankers (VLATs)
• 5 Medium Air Tankers (eg Erickson Air Crane helicopters)
• 4 Initial/light air attack firefighters
• 3 Lead/Supervisor aircraft
“The final makeup of the air fleet and support vehicles would be decided after a thorough assessment of climate projections and operational requirements,” said Senator McKim.