Bushfire laboratory heats up Noosa’s reputation for innovation

Work is underway on the first stages of a $1.89 million bushfire-fighting technology lab at Noosa, with Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud and Federal Member for Wide Bay and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Llew O’Brien today viewing plans for the new FireTech Laboratory.

The “living laboratory” will be built in stages throughout the Noosa region, with a robotics range for trialling autonomous and remote-controlled hardware technologies; a drone zone for showcasing aerial technologies and a big data lab for showcasing and trialling command centre technologies.

The project, which received a $1,894,503 jointly-funded grant through the Local Economic Recovery program, also includes sensor and vision zones with high definition camera for trialling solutions for the early detection of bushfires.
“These sensor and vision networks will be put in place during the coming weeks, and should be fully rolled out within the next three months,” Mr O’Brien said.
“The Firetech Laboratory is a significant project that will help prove the viability of new technologies in purpose-built facilities that simulate real-world bushfire environments, and will help progress them to commercial production so they can be deployed in Australia’s fire-affected communities.
“Noosa is becoming known as a centre of excellence for bushfire-fighting technologies, with remarkable work being carried out by companies like Helitak, Fireball International, and McDermott Aviation, and this is a further boost to the region’s reputation for innovation.”
Minister Littleproud said the FireTech Laboratory was part of a joint investment of $36.8 million for locally-led bushfire recovery projects, announced in August by the Australian and Queensland governments.
“This is an important investment for the local Noosa area, and it will benefit communities throughout the whole country by improving Australia’s long-term bushfire-fighting capabilities and resilience,” Minister Littleproud said.
The Local Economic Recovery funding is provided through the Australian Government’s National Bushfire Recovery Fund, which is worth more than $2 billion.
To date, more than $1.8 billion in Australian Government support has been provided to help bushfire affected communities, including $1.2 billion spent so far from the National Bushfire Recovery Fund.