The following Question Without Notice was asked by the Member for Bunbury, Don Punch and answered today in Parliament by Hon Fran Logan, Emergency Services Minister.
DEPARTMENT OF FIRE AND EMERGENCY SERVICES — MULTIPURPOSE FACILITY — COLLIE
Mr D. PUNCH to the Minister for Emergency Services:
I refer to the McGowan Labor government’s commitment to supporting the community of Collie. Can the minister outline to the house how a new multipurpose Department of Fire and Emergency Services facility in Collie will not only create local jobs but also ensure the region has the state-of-the-art resources it needs to manage large-scale bushfires and protect the community?
Mr F. LOGAN replied:
Thank you very much indeed, member for Bunbury. I thank the member for his support for all the emergency workers in the south west.
It was a great announcement that we made in Collie last Thursday, member for Collie–Preston, for a new head office and facility for emergency service workers in Collie. As the member for Collie–Preston knows, that guarantees jobs for Collie, it improves the economy of Collie, and, most importantly, it improves the emergency services responses for Collie. We intend to invest $8 million into a facility that will deliver three things. Firstly, it will establish a level 3 incident control facility. That comes after volunteers in Collie, from both the Collie Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service and the bush fire brigade, lobbied the Shire of Collie for a facility that dealt with level 2 incidents in and around the Collie vicinity and in the south west. The proposition that was put to the Shire of Collie was knocked back because of the funding required for that facility. Of course the next week, coincidentally, we announced that the McGowan government would be providing a level 3 incident control facility. To say that the volunteers in Collie are happy about that is a major understatement—they are absolutely over the moon, as is the Shire of Collie. It is a fantastic outcome for emergency services in the south west.
The second part of the $8 million investment is an emergency driver training school. Where that will be is subject to negotiation with businesses, the people of Collie and the Shire of Collie. It means that all emergency service workers—particularly those who fall under the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, and I hope other agencies as well—who need, for example, four-wheel drive training or other forms of driver training, will go through Collie. They will go to Collie to undertake that training, which is a significant boost to the economy of Collie. It is a great outcome.
The third component of this investment is the relocation of the high fire season fleet from O’Connor to Collie.
About 80 vehicles will be located in Collie, which means that their accessibility to other emergency service volunteers in and around the south west and the rest of the state will be far easier. It also means that the types of skills that are currently in Collie, where people may well be losing their jobs as a result of the changing nature of the economy of Collie, can be used within the Department of Fire and Emergency Services. It is about the repair and replacement of equipment on those vehicles. It is a great place to be able to locate the high fire season fleet. It is a great announcement, member for Collie–Preston. I was very, very pleased to be able to do that.
As I say, it is confidence in the town of Collie, it is confidence in the economy of Collie and it is confidence in a far better outcome for emergency service workers in the south west.