A first of its kind $18 million Bushfire Centre of Excellence for Western Australia is now one step closer to being established, with a site secured in the Shire of Murray.
The establishment of the Bushfire Centre of Excellence, a key opportunity identified in the Waroona Bushfire Special Inquiry, will further enhance the training and bushfire management practices delivered locally to firefighters across Western Australia and other bushfire management practitioners.
Premier Mark McGowan, Emergency Services Minister Francis Logan, Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke and Mandurah MLA David Templeman today visited the preferred site to meet the new Bushfire Centre of Excellence head John Tillman, and volunteer and career firefighters.
The Nambeelup site, just north of Pinjarra, was chosen for its close proximity to major transport links and accommodation options, and also provides access to rural space ideal for training opportunities and learning experiences.
The building design is expected to be finalised in coming months, and is planned to include areas for exercising incident management teams and incident control centre personnel, enhancing our State’s existing capability by providing practical, ‘real-life’ training.
It will also include outdoor training spaces, secure storage area for training tools and equipment, training rooms and office space.
The Bushfire Centre of Excellence will draw on the experience of local volunteers and firefighters from across the country as well as the latest in technology, the best in science and academia, and Aboriginal traditional land practices.
The $18 million Bushfire Centre of Excellence forms part of the McGowan Labor Government’s $128.5 million record investment towards critical fire and emergency services, and includes a $34.6 million investment in bushfire mitigation and a $15 million extension to the Bushfire Risk Management Planning program.
As noted by Premier Mark McGowan:
“Our volunteer and career firefighters work under extremely challenging conditions across our big State from Esperance to Kununurra and everywhere in between.
“I’m pleased we’re progressing the Bushfire Centre of Excellence, which will strengthen WA’s emergency services, provide additional support and training to those on the ground and help improve community safety.
“The Bushfire Centre of Excellence will help improve bushfire management outcomes through leadership, collaboration and innovation across the sector.
“It will focus on sharing valuable knowledge and skills for the benefit of the community.”
As noted by Emergency Services Minister Francis Logan:
“The Bushfire Centre of Excellence is the first of its kind in Australia, and is expected to be a transformative, world-class facility for Western Australia.
“Following consultation to determine the most appropriate location for the centre, Nambeelup has been chosen for its close proximity to major transport links and accommodation options so volunteers and other visitors from around the State and nation can more easily access it.
“Importantly, current training practices will continue to be delivered locally and the knowledge gathered at the centre will help improve that local delivery and enhance our State’s bushfire management doctrine.
“The centre will facilitate and foster greater collaboration between agencies, volunteers and traditional custodians, helping us to better manage the large and complex bushfires that threaten WA year after year.”
As noted by Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke:
“Establishing the Bushfire Centre of Excellence in the Shire of Murray will prove beneficial due to its existing infrastructure, as well as the Shire’s organisational capacity and experience, and the relationship management they will bring to the table.
“It will give volunteer and career firefighters from around the State access to innovation, research and training from the country’s leading bushfire management authorities.”
As noted by Mandurah MLA David Templeman:
“This will be a major boost for the region, creating jobs during construction and bringing increased activity to the area.
“The Peel region is no stranger to the devastation caused by bushfires and has the infrastructure and expertise to host a Bushfire Centre of Excellence.”