Dutton douses call for air force fire help
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has hit back at "armchair experts" calling for air force planes to help fight bushfires raging across Australia.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie last week said Australia's military transport planes could deploy tank systems for water bombing
"There are a lot of sort of armchair experts in this space," Mr Dutton told Sky News on Sunday.
He said it wasn't as easy as Mr Wilkie suggested for air force planes to join the firefighting effort.
"It may be that it's more efficient to engage purpose built aircraft that we contract in over the summer or over the period we're under most threat," Mr Dutton said.
"The experts including the defence experts make those calls and government will take that advice."
Before entering politics, Mr Wilkie served as an infantry officer in the army.
Mr Dutton said fire commissioners around the country make judgments about the resources needed for each season, but they could reassess if needed.
Bushfires have ravaged NSW and Queensland, sparking debate around climate change and resources for firefighting.
Labor is calling for the federal government to meet with states, territory and local counterparts to thrash out the response to fires.
Opposition natural disaster spokesman Murray Watt said ex-fire chiefs with decades of experience were ready to help.
"Their advice was clear - we will see more natural disasters due to our changing climate and we are not ready to deal with it," he said on Sunday.