Australian firefighters will have greater access to specialist air tankers and the ageing national fire danger rating and community alert systems will be overhauled as part of a $26-million funding boost.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will announce the upgrade to the almost 60-year-old system on Wednesday, as parts of Queensland recover from nearly a fortnight of scorching bushfires.
Mr Morrison will also announce extra funding to deploy fixed-wing air tankers to bushfire emergencies across the country.
“Over the past few weeks, communities across Australia have come together to fight bushfires, reminding us of our Australian values of looking after our mates,” he told AAP.
“This funding will boost support to communities across Australia with more aerial capabilities to fight bushfires, new projects to support new emergency communication and fire prediction research.
“Importantly, we will increase the number of aerial tankers which can respond to bushfires right across Australia.”
The package includes $11 million to deliver more large, fast, fixed-wing air tankers to natural disasters and $2 million to boost the national emergency alert SMS system.
It also gives almost $6 million to roll out a new national fire danger rating system, and $5 million to help states and territories build resilience and respond to emergencies.
Money will also go towards testing telephone-based emergency warning systems and expanding a public safety mobile broadband trial.