Firefighting drones, aerial firefighting, enhanced strategic fire trails and improvements to local emergency infrastructure and equipment will be funded by an additional $268.2 million over four years as part of the NSW Government’s response to the independent NSW Bushfire Inquiry.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott were joined by NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) Commissioner Rob Rogers AFSM, Commissioner of Resilience NSW Shane Fitzsimmons AFSM, and Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Acting Commissioner Jim Hamilton to announce the funding package.

This takes the total amount committed by the Government in response to the Bushfire Inquiry, in partnership with the Commonwealth, to more than $460 million.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the funding will help rollout critical projects that will assist firefighters to protect communities right across the State.

“This commitment will bolster the future of our fire agencies and preparedness of communities, many of whom of have personally witnessed the devastating effects of fire,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Highlights of the package include further funding for new and refurbished fire trucks, operationalising two black hawk helicopters to replace existing NSW RFS helicopters and implementing the new National Fire Danger Ratings System.”

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said the NSW Government will continue to act on the learnings of our ‘Black Summer’ of bushfires.

“This second tranche of funding builds on our initial $192.2 million commitment which has already made a difference to our state’s preparedness for future disasters, and brings our total response to almost half a billion dollars,” Mr Elliott said.

“Whether it’s the continued funding for fleet upgrades, protective clothing, maintenance of our roads and strategic fire trails or indeed funding for drones and bushfire research, this second package puts our frontline firefighters and the safety of our communities first.”

RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers said fire agencies at all levels were working hard towards implementing the recommendations from the Inquiry.

“This commitment will assist by increasing mitigation crews on the ground, getting aviation assets in the sky, and most importantly providing safer trucks for our firefighters.”

Fire and Rescue NSW Acting Commissioner Jim Hamilton said the additional funding would go a long away in ensuring emergency services are more prepared for the future.

“The funding will deliver state-of-the-art equipment, systems and appliances so our firefighters can better protect the NSW community in years to come,” Acting Commissioner Hamilton said.

Commissioner of Resilience NSW Shane Fitzsimmons said resourcing local communities was paramount for an effective response.

“We know local communities and their efforts are the frontline of response, but also key to preparedness for the disasters that will most likely impact them,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.

The $268.2 million funding package includes:

- $50.9 million to support firefighting tanker replacement and safety retrofits for frontline NSW RFS, FRNSW, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and Forestry Corps NSW fleet;
- $37.6 million for the continued funding of additional mitigation crews in the NSW Rural Fire Service and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to deliver greater hazard reduction;
- $34.4 million to accelerate the state-wide delivery of strategic fire trails;
- $22.7 million for a personal protective clothing replacement program for FRNSW;
- $19.9 million to upgrade the FRNSW dispatch systems;
- $17.2 million to operationalise two black hawk helicopters to replace existing NSW RFS helicopters;
- $10.6 million to assist with the implementation of the new National Fire Danger Rating System;
- $6.7 million to enhance firefighter safety through fire ground tracking, training and accreditation of heavy plant machinery operators; and
- $5.2 million for additional drones for firefighting operations.

The NSW Bushfire Inquiry was commissioned by Premier Gladys Berejiklian to examine the causes, preparation and response to the devastating 2019-20 Summer Bushfires. The NSW Government has accepted the 76 recommendations.

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