Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (14:50): My question is to the Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services.
Mr PEDERICK: Seriously.
The SPEAKER: Order! Member for Hammond, put your question.
Mr PEDERICK: Does the government plan on replacing the state's rescue helicopter fleet? With your leave, sir, and that of the house, I will explain.
Mr PEDERICK: One of the state's ageing helicopter fleet was plunged into darkness over Backstairs Passage after a generator failed. This was the second failure in the same retrieval after one of the craft's engines would not start during take-off. Prior to the election, the former government had been well advanced in negotiations to update the fleet.
The SPEAKER: Order! Member for Newland! The minister has the call.
The Hon. J.K. SZAKACS (Cheltenham—Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services) (14:51): As incorrect as the proposition of the member for Hammond is about the well-advanced nature of negotiations, what I can say is that not one single cent was put into the budget or forecast by the former government in procurement of a new contract—not one cent.
The SPEAKER: Order! The minister has the call. Member for Hammond!
The Hon. J.K. SZAKACS: Also, the member for Hammond asks whether the government will be replacing our asset. I can advise the house that it is not our asset. The government does not have a fleet of owned helicopters; however, our provider, our contractor, Babcock, certainly does.
I am very pleased to advise the member for Hammond that, again, it seems there was a bit of a theme in this space. I am not sure who the former minister was here, but there was a theme under the former government of a whole bunch of thought bubbles when it came to emergency services and, in this case, the SPARAS procurement, that were never funded. They were never advanced. We are well advanced now in the advanced tender and procurement of a new, long-term solution to our state's aviation needs.
The other matter that I can touch on is the incident that occurred over Backstairs Passage. Most people in this place would be well and truly aware of the fact that aviation is amongst the most highly regulated industries in our country, and for very good reason. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority nationally regulates all of this. In fact, one of the remnants of that ongoing change to safety regulations is the noise, the noise that we hear often across our metropolitan suburbs from the use of the rescue helicopter as well as PolAir, and that is the move from a single engine to a twin engine requirement over built-up areas.
It is funny that I get a lot of letters from those opposite about noise, but none of them quite remember that their former government did absolutely nothing to modernise our fleet—nothing.
The SPEAKER: Order!
The Hon. J.K. SZAKACS: Very soon, I will be very pleased to write to those members opposite about the good work this government has done to fix the SPARAS mess and get a fleet that is well and truly fit for purpose and fit for the future.
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