In an effort to honor its commitment to continue searching for the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, Australia has set aside US$84 million to be used for two years. According to Australia's budget released last May 13, the government will provide the funds as part of its commitment to find traces of the lost aircraft carrying 239 people that went missing since March 8.
Australia has been the leading the international effort for Flight MH370 believed to have crashed somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean. However, despite a massive air and sea search including the use of a U.S. navy submersible, no sign of the wreckage has been found. International crews have scoured the seas looking for plane debris and endured bad weather conditions to continue the search. According to reports, 4.6 million square kilometres of ocean have been covered with no concrete evidence of the Malaysia Airlines plane.
Out of the US$84 million or AU$89.9 million, the defence department will receive AU$27.9 million as payment for its search-related activities up to June 30. A separate AU$2 million will be given to the Joint Agency Coordination Centre to serve as a liaison to search crews, officials, families and other key stakeholders.
The budget papers also indicated further funding of AU$60 million in the next two years as a contribution to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau for the next phase of the search. Australia continues to coordinate ongoing search for the missing plane and consult with Malaysia and China, where most of the passengers come from.
Malaysia has praised Australia's commitment to continue searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 despite the growing costs of search efforts. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has vowed to continue searching for the plane to help families who are missing their loved ones. On May 7, the ministers from China, Malaysia and Australia have met in Canberra to announce a new phase in the search for the lost aircraft carrying 239 people onboard.
A data audit team will check the information gathered since the start of the search. Australia Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said the group will also analyse the satellite information that has been accumulated to ensure everything was interpreted accurately. Mr Truss said the next phase of the MH370 search will use highly specialised technology such as towed side-scan sonar and more autonomous underwater vehicles.