WATCH: New air tanker in action ahead of bushfire season
IT CAN fill up with 10,000 litres of water in eight minutes and can reach Proserpine in an hour - and it's Queenslands new arsenal for the bushfire season.
The Conair Q400AT touched down in Bundaberg at the end of last month and will be based here ready to fight fires this bushfire season.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Teasurer Cameron Dick and QFES Commissioner Greg Leach were in Bundaberg today to see the plane in action.
The aircraft will be leased for the next five years, costing the state $15 million for the period.
It will be based in Bundaberg and can easily be deployed to areas around the state.
Mr Leach said this was the first time Queensland had a large airtanker capability.
He said the plane can hold 10,000 litres of water, retardant or firefighting gel.
It is also the first Dash-8 firefighting aircraft in Australia and can fly low and slow so the water can be directed where it's needed.
"The crew have come in from Canaga with the aircraft and have undertaken their Covid-19 quarantine, and the aircraft is now commissioned and ready for action," he said.
"It has the ability to drop the retardant in a different pattern based on the needs of the incident.
"The value of this large airtanker is its ability to lay a retardant base in front of an oncoming fire, so we have other aircraft that can do direct fire attack, but the advantage of this is it can put a retardant line or a line of water down in front of a fire close to a town or significant asset."
Treasurer Cameron Dick said $40,000 would also be spent installing critical water and electrical infrastructure for the LAT at its new Bundy base.
"The water supply will fill foam/retardant mixing tanks from which the Large Air Tanker is filled and the electrical supply will service a demountable base office," he said.
"Together, these measures will provide seamless firefighting resupply services that will see improvements to bushfire safety of the entire Bundaberg community.
The Premier said the plane allowed Queensland to have its own resources without having to rely on the other states.
"During the last bushfire season everyone was scrambling to get planes and we've also see the devastation happening in California at the moment," she said.
"Our bushfire season tend to be worse, not better, so we need to be prepared.
"This capacity is based here and will be put to good use if and when it is needed."