Got this media release though yesterday :
Attorney-General Robert McClelland has today welcomed the arrival of
an Erickson Skycrane helicopter to assist in the ACT region’s
“These aircraft have a proven track record and are a welcome addition
to our emergency management capacity for the bushfire season,” Mr
“The use of aircraft for aerial firefighting has grown in Australia
over recent years. Water bombing aircraft are now a very visible
feature of firefighting operations each fire season, particularly at
rural-urban boundaries where they can provide rapid and effective fire
The Canberra-based Skycrane is one of four available in Australia for
the bushfire season, and forms part of the Australian Government’s
commitment of $41.2 million over four years to assist the States and
Territories to fund firefighting aircraft.
“Since its implementation, the initiative has allowed for at least 32
aircraft to be contracted through the National Aerial Firefighting
Centre in the 2007-08 season, an increase from the 25 available last
season,” Mr McClelland said.
“Aircraft offer three major advantages over ground-based firefighters;
speed, access and observation. We have seen this effectively
demonstrated just recently in the Kangaroo Island bushfires.”
The Skycrane helicopters are currently based in NSW, Victoria and the
ACT and will be repositioned to other operational areas as required.
“These national arrangements are an example of Australia’s
firefighting and land management agencies working together to provide
greater community fire protection,” Mr McClelland said.
Media Contact: Tom Cameron 0417 147 932