Collaboration and innovation key to future bushfire resilience

Minister for Police and Corrective Services and Minister for Fire and Emergency Services The Honourable Mark Ryan

Pilot trials to enhance bushfire resilience in regional communities through bushfire prediction, bushfire detection, aerial operations and uncrewed firefighting solutions were launched today on the Sunshine Coast.

The technology innovation has been championed under a new bushfire resilience partnership between Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, Noosa Shire Council and FireTech Connect.

Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Mark Ryan, who attended the partnership announcement event at Peregian, said the collaboration included the pilot trials.

“The Peregian Beach bushfire in 2019 was a stark reminder of how fierce and unpredictable bushfires can be, and it was thanks to our frontline firefighting personnel that prevented total devastation,” Minister Ryan said.

“Bushfires are complex and dynamic, so we need to create innovative technologies to bolster the state’s firefighting response.

“That’s why we‘re driving growth in the firefighting technology sector to meet the changing needs of communities and the industry.

“This Deed of Collaboration between QFES and Noosa Shire Council to support the FireTech Connect Pilot Program will lead to innovative outcomes in bushfire resilience.

“QFES is a key player in protecting the lifestyle we enjoy as Queenslanders and this project, developed here at Peregian, ensures jobs and better services for the community.”

“I thank the Noosa Shire Council for their forward-thinking approach to innovation that will build ongoing bushfire resilience.”

QFES Deputy Commissioner Mike Wassing said the partnership brought together industry expertise to build capability both within QFES and the community.

“As the climate changes we can expect more severe bushfire seasons and innovations such as this partnership ensure we can keep on the front foot,” Deputy Commissioner Wassing said.

“QFES’ subject matter experts in bushfire prediction will work alongside FireTech experts to explore ways to provide greater accuracy when managing bushfire disasters.

“Our ability to respond more rapidly to bushfire threats will come through collaboration on bushfire detection technology.

“Aerial operations trials will look to enhance situational intelligence, which in turn will improve emergency management decision-making.

“And with firefighter safety always at the forefront, investigations into uncrewed firefighting solutions will look to keep firefighters out of high-risk situations while simultaneously freeing up resources for more strategic placement.”

Acting Mayor Frank Wilkie said Noosa Council was pleased to begin the pilot trial phase of the Peregian Digital Hub’s FireTech program.

“We are excited to bring our Living Lab and network of project partners together to trial new and exciting technology solutions to not only fight fires, but predict, detect and track them in ways never seen before,” he said.

“Together with QFES we’re charting brand new territory with this partnership, which promises to significantly boost our shire’s bushfire resilience, as well as that of other bushfire-affected local government areas across Australia.

“It’s fitting that this project has been developed at our Digital Hub here in Peregian Beach – a community that knows only too well the threat of bushfire, having come close to being devastated by the fires that tore through our shire in 2019.”

FireTech Connect is an initiative of Noosa Shire Council and supported by the National Recovery and Resilience Agency.

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