Bushfire detection technology a step closer through the National Bushfire Recovery fund

Innovative bushfire detection technology will undergo pilot trials at Noosa’s FireTech Laboratory, with Federal Member for Wide Bay and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Llew O’Brien announcing a $979,875 grant for the project.

Mr O’Brien said the grant would extend the Firetech Connect commercialisation program for a further two years, delivering a series of critical technology pilot trials for bushfire preparedness, prediction, detection and intelligence at Noosa’s Living Laboratory, a set of purpose-built facilities that simulate real-world bushfire environments.

“The Firetech Laboratory is a world-leading project that will help prove the viability of new firefighting and detection technologies, and will benefit not just Wide Bay but communities throughout Australia and internationally by improving our long-term bushfire-fighting capabilities and resilience,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Noosa is becoming known internationally as a centre of excellence for developing bushfire-fighting technologies, and this funding will support FireTech and build on the remarkable work being carried out by companies like Helitak and McDermott Aviation.

“This is a significant investment by the Coalition Government that is about protecting property, lives, the natural environment and wildlife by preventing destructive bushfires.”

Mayor Clare Stewart said the significant funding would put Noosa at the forefront of bushfire preparedness.

“The work the Peregian Digital Hub’s Firetech Connect program is groundbreaking and the adoption of innovative solutions could change the way regional Australia prepare, predict and detect future bushfires,” she said.

The FireTech Laboratory also received a $1,894,503 grant through the Local Economic Recovery program as part of a joint investment of $36.8 million for locally-led bushfire recovery projects, announced in August 2020 by the Australian and Queensland governments.

Mr O’Brien said the FireTech project was one of more than 18 projects in Wide Bay among the 524 projects funded under the $390 million Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants program.

“The grants will fund a broad range of recovery and resilience projects in Wide Bay, from social and community wellbeing right through to repairing public infrastructure like bridges, and projects that support local jobs and small businesses,” he said.

“These are priority projects that have been identified by their local communities as offering lasting and tangible benefits, tailored to local needs and conditions, and the quality of the projects funded shows that our ‘locally led’ approach works.

“We understand that recovery from bushfires takes time, and we will continue to support impacted communities through their recovery from the devastating Black Summer bushfires of 2019-2020.”

Details of the funded projects are available on the National Recovery and Resilience Agency website at: https://recovery.gov.au/programs/black-summer-grants