“We are well prepared, well organised and well resourced, but we are also realistic: These fire conditions are unprecedented, and the challenge is formidable. If fierce conditions prevail, today could be a dark day for our country,” the Prime Minister started off his announcement.
Following today’s meeting of the National Security Committee, the Morrison Government is:
- Pushing a Call-Out of Australian Defence Force Reserve Brigades for the first time in the country’s history, together with specialist personnel,
- Deploying HMAS Adelaide to support the efforts of HMAS Choules and MV Sycamore, as well as additional Chinook helicopters, C-17 Globemasters, C-130 Hercules and C-27 Spartans, and
- Leasing a fleet of extra waterbombing planes for the states and territories to deploy
Australian Defence Force and Navy involvement
According to the Prime Minister, the ADF have been involved at an operational level to support logistics, evacuations, catering, accomodation and clearing.
Meanwhile the Air Force are helping to transport firefights.
Defence bases are being used as refuelling and staging sites.
The HMAS Albatross are assisting with water and fire retardant reloading.
This upsurge of up to 3000 ADF Reserve forces across Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania will push Defence resources into fire-affected areas as early as tomorrow.
The Navy’s largest amphibious ship, has been readied to join HMAS Choules and MV Sycamore in supporting evacuation of citizens from fire affected areas along our coast line.
HMAS Adelaide will sail from Sydney this afternoon, and will be located offshore from the fire affected areas tomorrow afternoon.
The Government considers this a major step-up in ADF involvement and assistance, which demonstrates their “absolute commitment to supporting states to fight the fires, and to immediately swing into disaster recovery operations as soon as the fire-front has passed”.
The government has also committed $20 million to lease four extra planes to fulfil that extra waterbombing requests.
The statement shared the government has processed 20,600 claims for assistance and committed almost $25 million in Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment and Disaster Recovery Allowance.
They have also extended Centrelink’s phone hours.
Morrison to cancel upcoming trips
The Prime Minister also announced he has postponed his state visit to India and his official visit to Japan to stay close to the disaster and recovery operations underway in Australia.