New RFS helicopters and Aviation Centre of Excellence for regional NSW
Regional communities across NSW are set to benefit from an enhanced emergency response and investment, as the NSW Government bases NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) multi-purposed firefighting helicopters at three key regional locations and officially turns the first sod for the RFS Aviation Centre of Excellence.
Premier Dominic Perrottet, Deputy Premier Paul Toole and Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott joined the RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers today to inspect the new base for one of the three helicopters at Dubbo Airport and turn the first sod at the RFS Training Academy.
Mr Perrottet said construction of the new $5.6 million RFS Aviation Centre of Excellence will commence in early 2022, providing a significant boost to the RFS emergency response capabilities.
“The NSW Government is committed to provide the resources and facilities to protect people across the State. The Aviation Centre of Excellence will house four state-of-the-art aviation simulators as well as two dedicated training spaces, 27 accommodation rooms and other amenities,” Mr Perrottet said.
Mr Toole said the new Aviation Training Facility is part of the NSW Government’s $480 million commitment in response to recommendations of the independent NSW Bushfire Inquiry, including an increase to the capacity of the RFS aviation training.
“Not only will this help drive jobs and growth in regional NSW but it will ensure resources are well positioned to respond in the event of a fire or other emergency in the Central West,” Mr Toole said.
Mr Elliott said the three multi-purposed helicopters have been pre-positioned at Tumut, Dubbo and Coffs Harbour to allow for rapid deployment regionally during the bush fire season.
“The RFS aviation capability has grown over recent years and is now the biggest firefighting aviation fleet in the country,” Mr Elliott said.
RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers said that the strategic placement of the RFS aviation fleet in three regional locations is particularly important.
“These aircraft will provide additional reassurance for regional NSW communities. It will not only support the NSW RFS during firefighting operations, but also provide other regional emergency services with real time high definition video streams and assist in search and rescue missions,” Mr Rogers said.