INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN WIDE BAY TO HELP AERIAL FIREFIGHTING

A $481,423 investment by the Australian Government will support Noosa’s Helitak Fire Fighting Equipment to develop the world’s largest aerial firefighting tankers, helping protect people, properties and wildlife from the threat of bushfire, Federal Member for Wide Bay and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Llew O’Brien announced today.

Helitak Fire Fighting Equipment is one of five businesses to share in $2.9 million as part of the latest Accelerating Commercialisation grants, under the Australian Government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme.

“Helitak is at the very forefront of aerial firefighting technology, and this funding will help the company to finalise designs, test, and internationally certify its expandable water tank that can be attached to Sikorsky S-92 helicopters,” Mr O’Brien said.

“This will benefit communities not just in Australia but throughout the whole world, by amplifying the response capabilility of firefighters. It’s a further boost to the region’s reputation for innovation in firefighting technology, plus it’s creating local jobs and will bring millions of dollars into Wide Bay’s economy through exports.”

Helitak’s Chief Operating Officer Paul Blundell thanked Mr O’Brien for his ongoing support, and said the new tanks would be a game-changer for aerial firefighting.

“When Helitak’s FT-5000 tanks are fitted to Sikorsky S-92 helicopters, it means the helicopters are capable of delivering up to 19 firefighters to the fire-zone, supporting them from the air with water bombing as well as being able to carry cargo and undertake both emergency and medical evacuations,” Mr Blundell said.

“The new tank we have developed means the Sikorsky S-92 is one of the largest aerial firefighting utility helicopters globally that is to be able to carry all of these things at the same time while also performing emergency evacuations and will make a real difference to firefighting operations.”

Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the Accelerating Commercialisation grants helped local businesses take the next important step to get their products to new markets so they can grow and hire more Australians.

“The Government is determined to back our manufacturers who are thinking outside the box to improve how we live and work – and in this case help save lives,” Minister Taylor said.

Assistant Minister for Industry Development Jonno Duniam said Helitak is the type of innovative business the Government is proud to support.

“Helitak has already taken great strides in building its cutting edge technology and this grant will help power them forward to new markets,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.

“Projects like these have tremendous potential to help protect Australians from the devastating impacts of bushfires, particularly in remote rural and regional communties.”

The Accelerating Commercialisation Grant is part of the Australian Government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme, which has provided 578 grants worth more than $284 million to Australian businesses since it was established in 2014.

More information on the grant recipients is available at www.business.gov.au/ac-funding-offers.   

Information on how to join the Entrepreneurs’ Programme and apply for an Accelerating Commercialisation grant is available at www.business.gov.au/ep.