Country Fire Service

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN ( 15:23 :47 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Emergency Services a question.

Leave granted.

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN: The minister announced on 24 May a series of program and equipment upgrades that will include the acceleration of the government’s fire truck replacement program and the retrofitting of safety systems to the existing trucks to provide burn-over technology. My questions to the minister are:

1.How many CFS trucks will be replaced under the program?

2.Within what time frame will the replacements and retrofitting commence under the accelerated program?

3. Within what time frame will these programs be completed?

4.Will the work be tendered to South Australian businesses?

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) ( 15:24 :49 ): I thank the Hon. Mr McLachlan for his important question. Yes, the honourable member is right to point out the fact that the government recently announced an increased investment as a result of money raised through the emergency services levy to ensure that our emergency first responders on the front line, including those people who work so hard as volunteers in the Country Fire Service, are equipped with the best technology that the government can reasonably provide them to ensure their safety going forward.

Recent bushfires that have occurred in the state of South Australia, the two most dramatic being the Sampson Flat bushfire and the Pinery bushfire, have demonstrated that fires of this nature present a very real threat to the safety and wellbeing of those people who put themselves in harm’s way.

One of the ways that volunteer firefighters in those environments can seek refuge, where it is appropriate to do so, can be within the cab of a firefighting truck and, of course, their likelihood of remaining safe is dramatically increased if that truck has burn-over protection. The Hon. Mr McLachlan rightly refers to the fact that through the money raised from the ESL the government has committed to the acceleration of the installation of burn-over technology in those CFS trucks that are not currently fitted with it.

I am advised that the replacement of CFS single-cab trucks with dual-cab trucks will result in three additional CFS trucks being introduced into the CFS fleet in 2016-17. The retrofitting of safety systems to existing fire trucks to provide burn-over technology, including in-cab breathing apparatus and water spray deluge systems, will be to 30 CFS trucks that will be retrofitted with the safety systems, four MFS trucks will be retrofitted, 17 DEWNR trucks will be retrofitted, and two bulk water pods provided to the MFS will also be used to assist in carrying water to the CFS in bushfires.

With an increase in large-scale bushfires in recent years, as I referred to, firefighters face the real risk of death or serious burns from burn-overs. The accelerated truck replacement and retrofit of existing trucks will significantly improve the protection of fire crews exposed to burn-overs during bushfires.

It is an important program and can only be done through the additional funds that are raised through the ESL. It remains something that this government is committed to. We have to make sure, if we are asking people, particularly volunteers, to put themselves in harm’s way to protect their communities, that we are doing everything we reasonably can to ensure their safety, and burn-over protection in fire trucks is one way that we can do that.

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN ( 15:28 :00 ): I have a supplementary question. I asked the minister about whether the work would be tendered to South Australian businesses. Could he respond to that question, given that obviously South Australians are paying the ESL levy?

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) ( 15:28 :15 ): I am happy to take that question on notice. I am aware and I am advised that our emergency services often do use South Australian businesses when it comes to engineering systems and equipment that is being designed for South Australian emergency vehicles—that happens on a regular basis. I will have to take the question on notice specifically in respect to the burn-over protection that I referred to, but I am more than happy to get that information to the Hon. Mr McLachlan as quickly as I can.

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