About ASU
The Aviation Services Unit Today
Aviation services in Victoria now focus on a broad range of emergencies and land management activities, as well as bushfires, and we're building a high quality service that is overseen by a joint agency governance structure, Fire & Emergency Aviation Management Group. This management group includes Emergency Management Victoria, CFA, Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning (DELWP), SES and MFB.

The Aviation Services Unit resides under the Office of the Chief Fire Officer in DELWP, our role is to "raise, train and sustain" the aviation capability for the state. It also provides aviation expertise, services and advice for all agencies and all emergencies. This includes bushfire, weather emergencies, animal management, land management, maritime emergencies, fisheries operations, mapping and planned burning.

Under the management group is also the Aviation User Network (AUN). It is made up of representatives from the following agencies: DELWP, CFA, SES, SCC, MFB, EMV, Melbourne Water and Parks Victoria.

This group represents your needs and provides a forum to share idesa and knowledge and contribute to the effective use of aircraft in Victoria.

The State Airdesk is in the Command and Control structure and is rosterd with agency personnel within the State Control Centre under EMV.

What does this mean for you?
Although there have been some changes to governance, it is important to note that policies and procedures for aircraft operations remain the same for the 2014/2015 fire season.

What remains the same What's changed
  • The Aviation Services Unit continues to be administered by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries with leadership and strategic direction from a multi-agency group.

  • The State Aircraft Unit Policy and Procedures remain the authority for all aviation operations, authorised by the Emergency Management Commissioner.

  • All Aviation operations need to be endorsed by the Aviation Services Unit before the operation can be conducted.

  • Agencies will continue to be responsible for their own compliance to the relevant policies and procedures, and risk acceptance.
Aviation services exclude those required for policing, rescues and medical emergencies.
  • A new governance structure has been established that positions the Aviation Services Unit as a service provider for the emergency agencies.

  • The focus has moved to providing an aviation service that can cater for all emergencies and land management activities– not just bushfire. e.g. extreme weather response, marine emergencies, pest animal control, planned burning.

  • The Aviation Services Unit will provide a range of services. Services will include access to aircraft as well as training, technology support and standards.

The new governance structure also allows greater involvement from the emergency agencies the ASU services in shaping their aviation needs via the Fire and Emergency Aviation (F&EA) Capability Management Framework (CMF).

The Aviation Services Unit Team

Level 3, 8 Nicholson Street
Postal address: PO Box 500, EAST MELBOURNE VIC 3002
Phone: 03 9412 4888
Operations: http://www.emv.vic.gov.au
State Airdesk: 1300 13 41 44

The History of the Aviation Services Unit
Aircraft play an invaluable role in the Department of Environment and Primary Industries' and Country Fire Authority's fire suppression activities. Aircraft have been used for fire management operations since 1925 when an Air Force Westland Wapiti aircraft was first commissioned for aerial reconnaisance by Forest Commission Victoria. Since this time both organisations have developed the use of aircraft for fire and land management, with each organisation coordinating their own fleet of aircraft.

On 1 August 2000 the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and the then the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) both signed the “Safe Forest Firefighting - CFA and NRE position paper”. With regards to aircraft the joint position was that:

  • CFA and NRE will establish a joint aircraft management unit;
  • Any use of aircraft will be coordinated through the joint aircraft management unit, including any ad hoc use or casual hire;
  • CFA and NRE agree that only competent staff will be used in aircraft roles; and
  • CFA and NRE agree that aircraft use will be based on operational priority after a consideration of the level of fire danger,
    community risk and existing resource commitments.

CFA and NRE subsequently agreed that the joint aircraft management unit would be known as the State Aircraft Unit (SAU). The primary objective in establishing the SAU was to create a “one stop shop” for all aspects of coordination and management of aviation resources and activities between the CFA and NRE.

On 20th December 2001 the “Co-operative Agreement between the CFA and NRE” was executed, confirming the position taken previously regarding the sharing, use and management of aircraft.

In 2002 the NRE was split into the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and the Department of Primary Industries (DPI). The DSE took over the aviation responsibilities previously held by the NRE.

In 2013 DSE and DPI merged back to become the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI). DEPI took over the aviation responsibilities previously held by DSE.

In 2014 the unit's name was changed from State Aircraft Unit (SAU) to Aviation Services Unit (ASU)