Australia’s aerial firefighting capability has received an annual $11 million boost to ensure additional aircraft are available for the 2020-21 and future bushfire seasons.

Federal Nationals Deputy Leader and Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud said the additional funding would increase aerial firefighting capacity across the country helping the communities prepare for summer.

“The $11 million boost to the national aerial firefighting fleet comes on top of the $15 million we already deliver each year for aerial firefighting,” Mr Littleproud said.

“In previous fire seasons, these aircraft have been a comforting sight for people living in and around the bush.

“We recognise the vital role that aerial firefighting plays in protecting communities, and it’s their integration with the hard work of firefighters on the ground, along with a well-prepared community, that makes the difference.

“Most importantly, this investment will save lives and property.”

The additional funding to the National Aerial Firefighting Centre will increase the length of existing lease arrangements and/or the number of contract opportunities available to aircraft owners/operators.

These aircraft contracted on behalf of state and territory governments are supplemented by additional state-owned, and state-contracted aircraft and other aircraft hired to meet peak demand across Australia.

The Nationals in Government are committed to working with states and territories to reduce the impacts of bushfires and ensure the availability of resources to combat natural disasters.