Mixed feedback on Collie fire centre promise

Stuart McGuckin and Jacinta CantatoreSouth Western Times
Premier Mark McGowan, Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray and Emergency Services Minister Francis Logan with emergency service personnel at the announcement.
Camera IconPremier Mark McGowan, Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray and Emergency Services Minister Francis Logan with emergency service personnel at the announcement. Credit: Supplied

The announcement of an $8 million bushfire management facility to be built in Collie received mixed feedback on Thursday.

WA’s peak body for volunteer firefighters say they were unaware of the announcement prior to it being made by Premier Mark McGowan and Emergency Services Minister Francis Logan as they were not consulted.

Association of Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades acting chief executive Darren Brown said the association had not been involved in planning the new centre, or the Nambeelup Centre of Excellence.

“We are a little disappointed the government yet again didn’t take us up on our repeated offers to help,” he said.

“The AVBFB understands the need for the government to invest in Collie, and we hope doing so will also benefit nearby communities.”

“We once again offer to collaborate with government as plans progress and implore it to not only engage us as the peak body for WA's bush fire volunteers, but also the deeply experienced crews from local brigades including Yarloop and Harvey."

About 12 full-time workers will be based at the centre, which will provide support to career and volunteer emergency services personnel.

It will contain an incident control centre and an emergency driver training school.

Up to 70 of the DFES high fire season fleet will be stored at the facility which will provide regional fleet maintenance and management. Mr McGowan said the facility would create jobs and provide reassurance.

“We expect the new facility will provide vital support and training to career and volunteer emergency services personnel,” he said.

“Building this type of facility will help diversify its industry base to create long-term, sustainable employment and economic development.”

Mr Logan said the facility recognised the importance of having a top-level Incident Control Centre in the region to bring agencies together.

“The people of Collie know living in a beautiful area comes with bushfire risk,” he said.

The centre will also host the new Bushfire Centre of Excellence hands-on bushfire mitigation training.

Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray said he never stopped advocating for firefighting infrastructure in the central forest region.

“Collie’s central location in the fire prone area of the South West, along with its highly skilled workforce, makes for the ideal location for a facility of this type and will work to complement the Nambeelup site,” he said.

“This decision is also very pleasing due to the fact we have several venues that can adopt the driver training component and is a big start to the economy’s diversification.”

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