The federal government has sat on a business case for a boosted national aerial firefighting fleet for 18 months, NSW's rural fire chief says.
While there had been one-off cash payments, there had been no locked-in budget for a fleet, Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said on Saturday.
"We need to ensure that we have a locked-in budget so we can secure more long-term arrangements around funding and leasing," he told reporters in Sydney.
He said the business case with the Commonwealth proposed an increase in funding which would be matched by the states and territories.
"We haven't seen a positive response to that business case," Mr Fitzsimmons said.
"The business case has been with the federal government for 18 months at least."
"What we have seen is the equivalent of annual injections of funding over the last two seasons."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said these separate funding boosts would be enough to make up for the business case.
"That ongoing support will be there at that level in the budget and going forward," Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra.
"So that business case was addressed through a different method."
The prime minister also announced on Saturday the government would spend $20 million to lease four extra aerial firefighting craft.
Two of those would reach Australia in seven days, with the other two in 14 days.
The federal government gave Australia's aerial firefighting centre a one-off $11 million boost in December.
Mr Fitzsimmons said NSW had secured its own large aerial firefighting craft since putting the business case to the Commonwealth.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese said earlier on Saturday it wasn't time to count pennies and governments had to make sure people were getting all the help they needed.
"What we need is a national response and a co-ordination that is not just between an individual state and the Commonwealth," Mr Albanese told media in Adelaide.
He repeated his calls to bring forward a meeting of state and territory governments in order to discuss the bushfires.
Australian Associated Press