Bushfire outlook highlights importance of Ballarat based air crane

An above normal bushfire outlook for the coming season in large parts of Western Victoria highlights the need for a regionally based air-crane, South West Coast MP Roma Britnell says.

Last month it was revealed a 7500-litre Erickson Air-Crane usually based at Ballarat for the fire season will be moved to Moorabbin, in Melbourne.

Mrs Britnell is calling for the decision to be overturned, saying it would increase response times to the far west of the state.

“Heavily wooded areas around Portland and Nelson and the vast grasslands around Warrnambool will be vulnerable,” Mrs Britnell said.

“With the air-crane based in Melbourne, it will just add to the length of time it will take to get to this part of the state, especially to Portland and Nelson and it’s likely to have to refuel.

“But the beaches and concrete streets of Melbourne will be well protected with two air-cranes based in the metro area.”

Mrs Britnell has launched a petition calling for the air-crane to remain based in Ballarat.

It can be signed online at romabritnell.com.au, or at her Liebig Street office.

“Copies are available for people to take with them and collect signatures,” Mrs Britnell said.

“The more signatures the louder the message we can sent to have this decision overturned.”

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