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28 Apr 2009

Québec-Australia Meetings

The CL-415 air tanker operated by the Government Air Service piqued the interest of the parliamentarians. Photo: François Boutin, MRNF

A group of Australian parliamentarians headed by the President of the Federal Senate of Australia, John Joseph Hogg, made a visit to Québec City on April 20. Meetings held with representatives of the Québec government during the visit enabled Québec to promote its advantages as a partner of interest when it comes to fighting forest fires, developing the mining sector and administering Aboriginal affairs.

The Australian delegation was particularly interested in forest fire fighting measures since South Australia experienced the worst outbreak of forest fires in the country’s history last February. The parliamentarians visited facilities of the Society for the Protection of Forests Against Fire (Société de protection des forêts contre le feu – SOPFEU) and the Government Air Service (Service aérien gouvernemental - SAG), whose responsibilities include managing the air tanker fleet. SAG is part of the Ministère des Services gouvernementaux and is renowned for the operations it performs abroad outside Québec’s fire season. Amphibious planes from Québec along with their crew members have already provided services in the Americas, most notably in California last fall, as well as in Europe.

The Australian parliamentarians likewise met with representatives from the Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones, the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune and the Ministère des Relations internationales in addition to being received in the National Assembly by the Assembly’s President, Yvon Vallières.
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