Aerial Firefighting

Mr CREGAN: My question is to the Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services. Can the minister update the house on how the government's investment in aerial firefighting capability has assisted the state over summer?

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD (Gibson—Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services, Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing) (14:41): I thank the member for Kavel for his question. I know he has a very, very strong interest in our emergency services and the wonderful work that they do. I have raised in this place before that in last year's budget the Marshall Liberal government provided additional funding totalling more than $9 million over the next four years to boost the CFS fleet from 17 to 26 aircraft. That funding was yet another part of this government's commitment to deliver better services for South Australia. That is what we are here to do on this side of the chamber.

This funding was provided in addition to the government's much-needed changes, which led to lowering the cost of living by reducing the ESL bills for families. Better services and lower costs is a commitment we made going to the last election and it's what we are delivering for South Australians.

Members interjecting:

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD: I hear noise from the other side, Mr Speaker—

The SPEAKER: Yes, me too.

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD: They don't like it—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD: —when we deliver—

Mr Hughes interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Member for Giles, you can leave for half an hour.

The honourable member for Giles having withdrawn from the chamber:

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD: —better services and lower costs, but I can tell you that the people out there I speak to when I am out doorknocking and when I am out speaking to people in my community really appreciate it. I know members on my side say the same thing.

Mr Malinauskas interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition will cease interjecting.

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD: Throughout another hot summer—

Members interjecting:

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD: And again they complain about the better services, but I can tell you that people out there appreciate what we are doing.

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD: Emergency services are vitally important here in South Australia. It has been another hot summer and we have more ahead. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our CFS workers, our emergency service workers who put themselves at the forefront doing this wonderful work.

What I can talk about, too—and I think some of these facts need to be recorded in this place—is that up to the end of January there have been over 100 dispatches of aircraft throughout the state, with over 1.1 million litres of firefighting material delivered. In November, 156,000 litres were delivered, and in December 2018 there were 681,000 litres. In January 2019, 330,000 litres were delivered, and in February 339,000 litres were delivered from 83 drops.

Over the break, I was lucky enough to get out into the regions and meet some of our wonderful CFS volunteers. I also got up to Brukunga, where a lot of these planes are based, and looked at the operation up there. It was a great chance as well to see the fixed wing planes but also, it is the home base of the Helitack air crane. A lot of people get confused about this air crane. They often call it Elvis. Elvis was a precursor. The one we have here in South Australia is named Elsie. It is great having Elsie parked up in the Hills, and the member for Kavel would know that it gives great protection and great cover to South Australia at times of bushfire.

I was also over in Port Lincoln with the member for Flinders. We were having a look at the planes out there at Port Lincoln Airport and having a look at the great work that they do. I also know that Finniss had a number of drops in and around Mount Compass. On 13 February, they had 67 drops there as well.

I can run through some of these because it is quite fascinating: on 16 November, Yalanda had eight drops; on 18 November, American River had 10 drops; on 3 December, in the member for Hammond's electorate, in Milang they had 27 drops; on 6 December, Saddleworth had 11 drops; between 7 and 9 December, Kangaroo Island had 109 drops; and Cummins, again in the member for Flinders' electorate, on 28 December they had 14 drops. That was just at the end of 2018.

In 2019 it continued: in Coomunga in the Flinders electorate in early January, eight drops; Montacute in the member for Morialta's electorate, 14 drops; Naracoorte as well, in the member for MacKillop's electorate, 13 January, 22 drops; Bute, in the member for Narungga's electorate, 14 January, 10 drops; Coombe in the member for MacKillop's electorate, four drops; Nairne in the member for Kavel's electorate, nine drops; and Aldinga, seven drops. This is vitally important for South Australia, another great service from the Marshall Liberal government.


Authorised by Corey Wingard MP, Member for Gibson. Level 2, 1 Milham Street Oaklands Park SA 5046. ©Copyright / Legal / Login