Probing the polls: a quiet Christmas, but a fierce debate on ADF firefighting proposal

Genevieve Jacobs 30 December 2019 118
RFS volunteers

RFS volunteers have been fighting the fire crisis for months. Should the ADF be deployed on the front line? Photo: RFS Facebook.

While the shops were full of Christmas carols on constant repeat and every checkout operator was decked out in a Santa hat, it appears from last week’s poll that many RiotACT readers would prefer a quieter Christmas celebration.

In an age of all-encompassing consumerism around traditional holidays, we asked you what your preferred choice of celebration is. A total of 465 people voted in the poll.

And despite an early surge in the voting for the all tinsel, all Jingle Bells version of Christmas, the end result was surprising. Your options were: It’s not Christmas unless I’m wearing an elf hat 24/7, the carols are on constant repeat and we’re all eating Christmas pudding for breakfast. That choice received 131 votes or 28 per cent.

The alternative was It’s got a bit too commercial for me: a quiet day with the family is the best holiday treat. This was the clear winner with a whopping 72 per cent or 334 of the total votes.

This week we’re taking a look at a pressing issue that’s facing our region as the bushfires roll on across south-eastern Australia without an end in sight. As volunteer firefighters struggle to cope with the extended crisis, there have been growing calls for the Australian Defence Force to enhance its current logistical support role with frontline deployment.

Several days ago, Defence Minister Linda Reynolds described the assistance currently being provided by the ADF as “significant behind the scenes support … including aerial fire reconnaissance; helicopter search and rescue; logistical support such as ground transport; providing meals for exhausted firefighters; as well as basing, re-fuelling, water re-supply, loading fire retardant and air traffic management for firefighting aircraft”.

“This behind-the-scenes support from the ADF frees up more of our firefighters to perform their specialised roles fighting the fires,” she said.

But former NSW Australian of the Year and environmental activist Jon Dee says that the crisis is now so big that it requires “a war footing”.

He asked: “When do we get army fire engines? At what point do we get soldiers picking up hoses, similar to what’s happened in the UK when there have been national crises [there]?”

The proposal elicited sharply differing opinions among RiotACT readers. Liberalsocialist said: “The ADF is for the military defence of Australia – not fighting fires. If there is a need to have more paid members of the fire-fighting and other emergency services – then the states can stump up and pay for it.”

Anura commented: “Firefighting isn’t just a game of raw numbers ie. more people on the ground doesn’t mean better outcomes. There are lots of things the ADF can and are doing but I’m not convinced direct firefighting is what they should be doing.”

But Jess asked, “how is that even a question? Yes, every single resource should be utilised”, and from Forest Embassy, “it really is as simple as this: if mums and dads can volunteer (with lots and lots of training) to do something that our national defence forces can’t do then we are in big trouble … this is as bad as a war – it’s time we treated it as such”.

So what do you think?

Should the ADF expand its support to frontline firefighting?

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118 Responses to Probing the polls: a quiet Christmas, but a fierce debate on ADF firefighting proposal
Alison Lawarik Alison Lawarik 9:35 am 31 Dec 19

The ADF should be trained in fire fighting, after all most are just sitting around doing exercises? Perhaps they could do fire training as part of their "exercises"

    Steve Rakic Steve Rakic 10:36 am 31 Dec 19

    Alison Lawarik do you realise how many ADF personnel are actually qualified firefighters? Obviously not, what a stupid comment!!!!

    Alison Lawarik Alison Lawarik 10:48 am 31 Dec 19

    Steve Rakic where

    Simon Mead Simon Mead 10:58 am 31 Dec 19

    Alison Lawarik you realise these ‘Exercises’ are training for their primary role in war fighting and the defence of Australia? What do you think they do on ‘exercises’ sit around in circles singing kombuya?

    Steve Rakic Steve Rakic 11:04 am 31 Dec 19

    Alison Lawarik if you did your research, you would know that the ADF are already involved in the current fire fighting efforts... How about you do some more reading instead of posting your uneducated and unhelpful opinions...

Melissa Liddon Melissa Liddon 9:34 am 31 Dec 19

Would you send our RFS volunteers in to defend our country against an invading hostile force because they’re ready to deploy quickly at a moment’s notice, even though they’re not trained for combat? This is the logic on which your argument is based.

Farg Gough Farg Gough 9:32 am 31 Dec 19

The ADF will do whatever the Government of the day tells it to do.

If that job is fighting bushfires in Australia there will be opportunity costs.

Melissa Liddon Melissa Liddon 9:30 am 31 Dec 19

Putting untrained and inexperienced personnel on the frontlines in large numbers is a recipe for an even greater disaster than what our country is facing now. Even with basic training, unless those skills are utilised and regularly refreshed, and experience gained on a fireground, this is not a workable plan.

Natalie Grey Natalie Grey 9:23 am 31 Dec 19

What about using public servants? They are all currently on Christmas shut-down anyway.

    Simon Mead Simon Mead 11:04 am 31 Dec 19

    Natalie Grey seriously are you for real? Grasping at nothing now. Those that are fit enough ARE most likely in the SES and RFS assisting already

    Natalie Grey Natalie Grey 11:54 am 31 Dec 19

    Simon Mead have a valid reference source for that claim do you? I certainly don't recall seeing any reports about the thousands of public servants rushing to volunteer during their fully paid shut-down aperiod. What I DO remember is that during the Canberra fires, my entire department was offered fully paid leave to fulfil volunteer obligations. Out of my entire Branch, only myself and one other person actually went. I was certainly not fit, I went anyway and did what I could. At least one of the volunteers at the Recovery Centre was 80 years old.

    Simon Mead Simon Mead 12:40 pm 31 Dec 19

    Natalie Grey have a valid reference for yours? I am a public servant, ex defence as a soldier and volunteer for emergency services. I’d say approximately half my area are public servants. To suggest dumping unfit untrained public servants on a fireground instead of RFS/ADF is ludicrous

    Jenny Pieper Jenny Pieper 2:12 pm 01 Jan 20

    Natalie Grey they’re all in Hawaii 🌴

    Natalie Grey Natalie Grey 2:22 pm 01 Jan 20

    Simon Mead I'm not saying they should be untrained. If ADF staff can be expected to do basic volunteer training, why not public servants? Graduates have to do a year of training anyway. And no one is saying we should dump unfit people in a fireground. There are plenty of support roles.

    Jack Spahr Jack Spahr 4:08 pm 01 Jan 20

    Natalie Grey why not motor mechanics and shop workers, why not why not, stop gibbering. This is just public service bashing, end of. Why not teachers, they are on stand down now? Why, well it's because they work in different areas of life. The ADF has bulldozers, water tankers and could, in numbers do a very worthwhile job. The airforce has capability. If not on the front line, then there is a capability where fires have been to clear behind. After cyclone Tracey the air force and army buggered off, the navy was sent up and they started the clean up. It's not beneath them,

    Stephen Page-Murray Stephen Page-Murray 5:51 am 03 Jan 20

    Jenny Pieper

    No, they’re down the coast or at work

James Montgomery-Willcox James Montgomery-Willcox 9:19 am 31 Dec 19

You know, maybe more people could volunteer to join the RFS? But they won't, it's much easier to sit on the sidelines sniping. Maybe Ms Jacobs could join up as a volunteer?

In fact, to make it easy, here's a link.

Anne Willenborg Anne Willenborg 8:32 am 31 Dec 19

Absolutely. This country depends way too much on people volunteering to provide services that the government should provide but won’t because people want tax cuts and governments want surpluses. How warped is this?

Trish Roberts Trish Roberts 8:17 am 31 Dec 19

Some people have suggested another option; something similar to an army reserve, but trained in fire fighting. They can be called on when needed. There will always be volunteer RFS, their knowledge on the ground is invaluable, and they want to save their own locality. But the situation now is way more than volunteers can or should be facing.

    Peter Robinson Peter Robinson 8:45 am 31 Dec 19

    Trish Roberts So this organisation that is similar to the Army Reserve,

    Would they be be payed? If not then they would be volunteers and there is a lack of willingness amongst the general population to do something for nothing. It would be a lot simpler if more people joined their closest RFS Brigade.

    Jayson Carey-Brenton Jayson Carey-Brenton 8:59 am 31 Dec 19

    Trish this is exactly the sort of thing we need

Christopher Mawbey Christopher Mawbey 7:47 am 31 Dec 19

Let the bush burn. Don't risk life for trees.

Use this opportunity as a reset on fuel levels in the forests. We must never let fuel levels it build up so much ever again.

    Tegan Smith Tegan Smith 7:21 pm 01 Jan 20

    the issue is we still need to control those burns, otherwise you just get a larger and larger fire front that will go wherever it wants and cannot be contained or controlled

    Jack Spahr Jack Spahr 2:10 pm 02 Jan 20

    Yes bang on Chris, and burn a few towns down with it, and a few lives and hundreds of houses, as long as its not your place.

    Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 12:08 am 03 Jan 20

    Jack Spahr you missed it!

    Linda Johnston Linda Johnston 1:56 am 03 Jan 20

    Hazard reduction burns will never stop Bush fires occurring and if one moves into an area without a ground fuel load it will be in the crown, huge and impossible to control. Several locations have seen bushfires several times this fire season; this alone shows increased hazard reduction burning is not the answer.

    Rob Smith Rob Smith 12:50 am 05 Jan 20

    Christopher Mawbey nit certainly helps along with other forest management

Jessica Fryer Jessica Fryer 7:40 am 31 Dec 19

It's been since August that it was obviously going to be like this. I reckon even the military could have been trained up and helping out by now.

Someone put it to me that the ADF is in the business of being ready for any kind of attack and it's no secret that for 50,000 years fire has been used to dominate this land. I don't see a down side to offering military the opportunity to help out, I'm sure there's plenty of people who would stick their hand up for the job...

I also liked Labor's policy of having a national professional crack fire fighting squad trained up and ready to deploy to the location of any big fire around Australia or to send overseas during the off season since there's a lot of that kind of reciprocal fire fighting partnership.

    Pete Rainbird Pete Rainbird 10:02 am 31 Dec 19

    Well said JF.

    Jessica Fryer Jessica Fryer 1:57 pm 31 Dec 19

    I'm really into the idea of having a national professional fire fighting team, it makes sense given the nature of fire season in Australia. And yeah expecting the military to be available for literally any problem that pops up is a bit problematic.

Sandra Jalkanen Sandra Jalkanen 6:47 am 31 Dec 19

In this sort of emergency, where resources are getting thin, and our RFS are getting weary, the backend support from the ADF is crucial. The ADF is uniquely positioned to provide food, shelter, fatigue management, reconnaissance, aerial support, etc etc. The ADF has the training and resources tackle a large mass of people spread over vast distances.

    Anthea Bollard Anthea Bollard 6:23 pm 31 Dec 19

    There are people waiting on beaches for rescue on the South Coast at Mallacoota, Long Beach right this second I understand.

Stephen Page-Murray Stephen Page-Murray 5:54 am 31 Dec 19

Under no circumstances should ADF personnel be used for general firefighting. If you want firefighters, hire them and pay them!

    Annie Mills Annie Mills 8:43 am 31 Dec 19

    Stephen Page-Murray except this isn’t about‘general firefighting’ is it? When a national emergency is declared, the ADF can be deployed to assist under emergency management guidelines. All armed forces have trained firefighters, it would not be that difficult to add a bushfire component to the training regime and deploy them in times like this.

    Stephen Page-Murray Stephen Page-Murray 9:05 am 31 Dec 19

    Annie Mills

    Firefighting has been outsourced, and are very small in number.

    Ray Stallard Ray Stallard 9:23 am 31 Dec 19

    Annie Mills incorrect. RAAF have firefighters who are specifically trained to handle aircraft mishaps. The Army has not had firefighters for years. As Stephen said, this function is outsourced to organisations manned by trained professional firefighters however they are very few in number (my son is one of these firefighters).

    Simon Mead Simon Mead 11:02 am 31 Dec 19

    Annie Mills never been in Defence have you? Firefighting is a perishable skill that needs constant upkeep. Something not really required if you get posted to Darwin. Defence, however are exceptional at disaster recovery, of which they are doing now

Di-dee Blaidd Di-dee Blaidd 1:35 am 31 Dec 19

The services do have there own fire fighters fully trained and experienced at all bases so they could give assistant they could also do a long list of other duties that aren't just fire's

    Andrea Kerr Andrea Kerr 4:59 am 31 Dec 19

    Di-dee Blaidd there are very few of those and they already assist with other logistical support as they currently are. There are also laws created by our constitution which limit the use of the military.

    Ardathia Hughes Ardathia Hughes 5:26 am 31 Dec 19

    firefighting is outsourced to a contractor - ADF do not do it as a regular function on bases.

    Jack Spahr Jack Spahr 4:09 pm 01 Jan 20

    Andrea Kerr what are they exactly?

    Lieta Gilks Lieta Gilks 5:30 pm 03 Jan 20

    Di-dee Blaidd here’s a bit of an overview of all the ‘long list’ of things they are currently helping with and a forecast of future activities.

Chris Lawless Chris Lawless 12:34 am 31 Dec 19

For your information.

    Peter Mackay Peter Mackay 2:24 am 31 Dec 19

    Providing transport, logistics, medical and other support for emergencies is fine. That is part of the Defence Force's role.

    Redeployment as firefighters is not. Should we put our expensive and difficult to replace national defence assets at risk because we sent off their fire protection teams to stamp out a bushfire?

    If we lose a squadron of fighters in these increasingly hot and dry conditions because only the clerks remain to wield fire extinguishers, that is not good risk management.

Peter Robinson Peter Robinson 11:54 pm 30 Dec 19

Soldiers don’t have access to fire fighting appliances so there would need to be a huge number of acquired to equip the ADF to at least the same standard as the Volunteer fire fighting services. These fire fighting aren’t cheap to purchase or maintain so my question to the experts is just how much of of an increase in your tax you are prepared to accept so as to facilitate the purchase, maintenance and storage of the

    Peter Robinson Peter Robinson 12:06 am 31 Dec 19

    Further to my last entry. How much expressed as a percentage are you prepared to pay in your taxes to cover the purchase, maintenance and storage of the massive amount number of trucks, radios, special fire retardant clothing, helmets and the million and one other requirements such as appropriate increase in training for our ADF members just to prepare them for this new role. I’ll give you a hint, none of these things come cheap. It would be cheaper and just as effective if young and fit people receiving government financial help were integrated into that existing fire services.

    Justin Watson Justin Watson 12:46 am 31 Dec 19

    Peter Robinson a lot more because right now all my taxes get funneled into the pockets of the wealthy who apparently work hard. They don’t work as hard as firefighters that’s for sure and we rely mostly on volunteers while managers sit in their ivory towers collecting million dollar bonuses for contributing nothing to society.

    Peter Robinson Peter Robinson 12:55 am 31 Dec 19

    Justin Watson There are 2000 fire fighting RFS brigades in NSW and each one of those has at least a category 1 fire truck which cost some where between 50k and 100k. If you add to that by the number of fire fighting brigades in the other states you will have some idea just how much money would be required to equip the 20000 ADF members with the basic equipment needed to operate in a fire fighting role. Add to that extra clothing and training and the cost blows out to the hundreds of millions of dollars, so my question is who is going to pay. You?

    Annie Mills Annie Mills 8:47 am 31 Dec 19

    Peter Robinson how much do the new submarines cost that are going to be obsolete before they are finished? 1/10th of that money could fund firefighters. What RFS need right now are bodies at the end of hoses to give the ones fighting a break.

    Peter Robinson Peter Robinson 9:05 am 31 Dec 19

    Annie Mills Glad to see that your an expert on Defence spending especially submarines. It is painfully obvious that you and a lot like you have absolutely on idea but I do agree with you that the NSW RFS needs bodies on the end of hoses. Can we expect you to join your local RFS Brigade or equivalents from other states and be one of those bodies on the end of a hose?

    Giulia Quadraccia Giulia Quadraccia 6:24 pm 31 Dec 19

    What price do you put on each life lost in the fires?

    Peter Robinson Peter Robinson 11:10 pm 31 Dec 19

    Giulia Quadraccia what do you mean what price? Life is priceless.

    Stephen Page-Murray Stephen Page-Murray 1:33 am 30 Jun 20

    Andrew Connor

    Hardly ‘defective’. You should look at the results from Red Flag 19-01 etc...

    Peter Robinson Peter Robinson 1:33 am 30 Jun 20

    Andrew Connor Beauty Andrew, then you won’t mind paying for more. Or do you seriously suggest that Defence stopes buying new replacement Defence equipment and buy fire fighting equipment instead?

Chris Webb Chris Webb 11:18 pm 30 Dec 19

Wait a minute..... There's quite a lot more people in receipt of unemployment benefits..... Why aren't they expected to volunteer in various positions such as SES/emergency services in order to receive the dole?

    Anura Samara Anura Samara 11:35 pm 30 Dec 19

    Chris Webb you need training and then work to maintain your competence. You also needo be physically fit. Finally, you also need to be able to cope with the mental and emotional demands of the job. We already know that only fraction of the community can do this, why do you think unemployed could do it more than anyone else?

    Melissa Collins Melissa Collins 3:12 am 31 Dec 19

    Chris Webb As well as the fact that many people who are on unemployment benefits are over 50 and often sick and disabled, Centrelink do not consider volunteer firefighting to be an approved activity for Work for the Dole, so anyone spending their time fighting fires stands to lose their unemployment benefits.

    Sean Cryer Sean Cryer 4:12 am 31 Dec 19

    Chris Webb there seems to be a lot of excuses as to why people on Newstart or Unemployment Benefits cannot assist with fighting fires😒

    Stephen Page-Murray Stephen Page-Murray 6:17 am 31 Dec 19

    Chris Webb

    Probably because the majority are aged between 50-67 years of age, and 43% have medical/mental problems and should be on the DSP!

    Stephen Page-Murray Stephen Page-Murray 6:18 am 31 Dec 19

    Sean Cryer

    Newstarve is the unemployment benefit. The majority are aged 50-67 years of age, they aren’t going to be firefighters!

    Stephen Page-Murray Stephen Page-Murray 6:19 am 31 Dec 19

    Anura Samara

    Chris isn’t the sharpest tool in the drawer...

    Damien Harrop Damien Harrop 6:38 am 31 Dec 19

    Chris Webb a fire front is probably the last place you'd want help from someone who doesn't want to be there.

    Emma Davis Emma Davis 2:27 pm 31 Dec 19

    I recently read that being a volunteer fire fighter does not exempt New Start recipients from their 'mutual obligations'. So those that would like to help can't because they have to be applying for jobs that just don't exist. Of course you have to be physically capable of helping out as well, plenty of people are now on new start because they've been deemed not disabled enough to qualify for disability pensions. Do you think that they'd be much good fighting fires?

    Stephen Page-Murray Stephen Page-Murray 6:00 pm 31 Dec 19

    Imants Ezergailis

    ABS 6202.0, 6226.0

    Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 12:10 am 03 Jan 20

    Chris Webb dear oh dear!!!

Peter Mills Peter Mills 11:14 pm 30 Dec 19

20,000+ military personnel that could have basic fire training included in future training regime as the only war we have at this time is with climate change and they could play a role.

    Simon Mead Simon Mead 11:25 pm 30 Dec 19

    Peter Mills doesn’t help with this fire season does it?

    Peter Mills Peter Mills 11:27 pm 30 Dec 19

    Not really but it takes time to train a fire fighter to do a job, gain experience on off season ops and remain safe. This season I think we are sort of a bit buggered.

    Simon Mead Simon Mead 11:30 pm 30 Dec 19

    Peter Mills also dependant on where said future soldier will be based. If in a bushfire prone zone, maybe. But fighting fires is a perishable skill that needs constant upkeep. Better to use the ADF to align needs to what they can do, which would require minimal training. Engineering tasks come to mind and the ADF does have an Engineer Corps that are assisting

    Peter Robinson Peter Robinson 12:16 am 31 Dec 19

    Peter Mills Are you a member of a volunteer fire fighting service? The reason I ask is that I doubt that there are 20000 service personal available to retrain for fire fighting duties. On the other hand there are millions of people in our cities and towns that could join their local brigade. But most won’t because they expect others to do the dirty work whilst they hide.

    Peter Mackay Peter Mackay 2:17 am 31 Dec 19

    Defence personnel are expensively trained in their existing skills and using them for other tasks is a waste of time and money.

    Besides, what constitutional authority is available to spend money on something not legally appropriated? This is where Don Trump is going off the rails in trying to get the army to fund and build his stupid wall. Are we going to ditch the rule of law?

    Peter Mills Peter Mills 7:24 am 31 Dec 19

    Peter Mackay but Pete, 20,000+ of them sitting around washing planes trucks and ships everyday when they could be using their gadgets for a community service?? They do this anyway with the community service in other natural or unnatural disasters all over the world.

    Stephen Page-Murray Stephen Page-Murray 8:27 am 31 Dec 19

    Peter Robinson

    Good reasons for that eh?

    Melissa Liddon Melissa Liddon 12:20 pm 31 Dec 19

    Peter Robinson I’m an ex RFS member with 15 years service, and sadly for many reasons am unable to give my time any more. Training as Simon said, requires constant upkeep. There’s also a danger inherent in flooding extremely dangerous situations with large numbers of inexperienced firefighters. Most firefighters gain experience at small incidents, but to have a reserve corps of trained personnel who only attend critical incidents when conditions are catastrophic would be (no disrespect intended to our exceptionally capable at what they do ADF personnel) daft.

    Peter Mills Peter Mills 2:03 pm 31 Dec 19

    David Wells and you are capable of holding up a rifle, but not a fire hose, I know whom is the ......

    Paul Bartolo Paul Bartolo 10:40 pm 31 Dec 19

    Peter Mills climate change started these bushfires, not arsonists?? You have no clue.

    Peter Mills Peter Mills 10:50 pm 31 Dec 19

    Yeh, well who has just been proven correct, the Military has been called to step up to the plate by the Defence Minister including personnel that have fire training. Next fire season maybe a few thousand more of them will become fire trained and expand their capabilities.... other than helicopters, trucks and planes, they could act as relief crews for fireys that are totally stuffed right now. Having been one for 25 years I know what its like night after night.....

    Melissa Liddon Melissa Liddon 12:54 am 01 Jan 20

    Peter Mills hopefully this explains the capacity in which ADF have been deployed.

Martin Stewart Martin Stewart 11:11 pm 30 Dec 19

Early 90s we helped the Sydney fires..we were on the front line helping..

    Simon Mead Simon Mead 11:14 pm 30 Dec 19

    Martin Stewart honest question - how far did you deploy from Holsworthy

    Suzanne Tunks Suzanne Tunks 11:31 pm 30 Dec 19

    my ex husband was in the navy in the early nineties and he fought fires in the blue mountains for days on end. We def need back up for our amazing volunteers and support to get these fires under control fast.

    Suzanne Tunks Suzanne Tunks 11:31 pm 30 Dec 19

    Simon Mead hello 👋

    Simon Mead Simon Mead 11:45 pm 30 Dec 19

    Suzanne Tunks seen. Times have changed and the ADF and everyone as a whole has got a lot more safety conscious

    Suzanne Tunks Suzanne Tunks 12:02 am 31 Dec 19

    Safety is important 😊 ps, I said hello coz I msgd you recently but I don’t think you saw it. Check your inbox.

    Farg Gough Farg Gough 9:35 am 31 Dec 19

    Martin, in the early 90s’ the ADF was double the size (in personnel) it is today.

Simon Mead Simon Mead 10:56 pm 30 Dec 19

Why is this even a question? Unless one has served and understands the defence force organisation then people shouldn’t be saying they can do more. They are doing all they can. The ADF has other competing priorities that just can’t be dropped on the whim of a few ‘social media experts’ on Facebook. James Montgomery-Willcox

    James Montgomery-Willcox James Montgomery-Willcox 11:01 pm 30 Dec 19

    This seems to be the go to issue for the chronically moronic. Where are the ADF?

    Simon Mead Simon Mead 11:03 pm 30 Dec 19

    James Montgomery-Willcox why doesn’t Special forces and infantry and every one else drop what they are trained for and stop deployments and border security and everything else to be recalled from leave and then be trained for two weeks and then be deployed across Australia to fight fires in one state? Idiots

    James Montgomery-Willcox James Montgomery-Willcox 11:12 pm 30 Dec 19

    I look forward to F18 pilots fighting fires with... oh that;s right, there's no equipment...

    Simon Mead Simon Mead 11:43 pm 30 Dec 19

    Carolyn Spooner if you are familiar with the ADF then you would be familiar with recall procedures for regular forces. The logistical effort alone would take quite a bit away from the ADF contribution to the fires already and they wouldn’t deploy to a fire zone for at least two weeks or more. Better to use local reserve forces as they are now with no impact to what the duty ADF forces such as aircraft and helicopters are providing. You’d be surprised at what the ADF are doing to support the fires, it just that they are providing a hole heap of ‘ behind the scene’ support which does not make good photo journalism. I suggest looking at the ‘ADF Operations and Exercises’ Facebook page to see what assistance has been and continues to be provided

    Simon Mead Simon Mead 11:48 pm 30 Dec 19

    Carolyn Spooner look at my profile. I think you’ll find I understand the picture from both angles

Ben Roberts Ben Roberts 10:36 pm 30 Dec 19

ADF personnel provide manpower but are not firefighters. Yes they could be trained, but we must remember this is not their primary task. Its also not just lifting people out, recovery and rescue. There is also the rank and responsibility issue that needs to be sorted in order to allow fire controllers etc. to issue instructions and have them followed without the need to work through a military structure.

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