Local commanders authorised to assist in fire emergencies

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds has written to the Chief of the Defence Force regarding support that the ADF is and can provide to the bushfire fighting efforts.

CAPTION: ACT Rural Fire Service firefighters board a RAAF Boeing Business Jet, on their way to help fight raging bushfires near Port Macquarie. Photo by Sergeant Ray Vance.

She said the forecast for tomorrow was deeply worrying, with areas across the country expected to be at catastrophic fire-danger levels.

“All Commonwealth agencies stand ready to assist state authorities and the community,” Minister Reynolds said.

“Accordingly, I have asked General Angus Campbell to give an order to local base commanders, making clear that they have the authority to use Defence resources to respond to any local contingencies under Defence Assistance to the Civil Community Category 1 (DACC 1).

“Senior ADF officers and other commanders are empowered to provide emergency assistance in local emergency situations to save human life, prevent extensive loss of animal life or widespread damage to property.

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“While our ADF personnel are not trained firefighters, they can provide other support for the nation’s front-line first responders.”

In the past few days, Royal Australian Air Force aircraft transported firefighter strike teams from Canberra, Adelaide and Hobart to Port Macquarie:

  • A RAAF 737 Boeing Business Jet transported ACT Rural Fire Service firefighters from Canberra to Port Macquarie on 8 November.
  • A RAAF C-130J aircraft transported firefighters and their equipment from Adelaide to Port Macquarie on 9 November.
  • A RAAF C-130J aircraft transported firefighters and their equipment from Hobart to Port Macquarie on 10 November.

In addition, Singleton Army Barracks in New South Wales, is on standby to provide accommodation and catering support to firefighters from the Victorian Country Fire Authority.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Service are using Kokoda Barracks in Canungra to refuel aircraft assisting with the bushfire-fighting efforts.

Minister Reynolds said Defence had already enhanced its planning and liaison support to emergency services, including embedding planners into Queensland State Disaster Coordination Centres and New South Wales Rural Fire Service headquarters.

“I pay tribute to the emergency services personnel fighting these fires across the country and I want to acknowledge the excellent support the Australian Defence Force has been providing to the bushfire-fighting effort.”

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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