Australia’s first-ever Bushfire Centre of Excellence facility is one step closer to reality today with construction commencing on what is expected to become an internationally renowned hub for bushfire management learning and skills development.
The McGowan Government committed $18 million for the facility which will be a place for career officers, emergency service volunteers, bushfire practitioners, researchers, scientists and others to gather to share and learn from the best bushfire management practices and science.
The Centre, funded by the Emergency Services Levy, will run courses in bushfire prevention, management and training and have specialist indoor and outdoor training facilities, collaboration spaces, and an interpretive learning centre for the community to come and learn about bushfires.
A key focus of the Centre will also be developing a Traditional Fire Program, believed to be the first of its kind, which will explore traditional Indigenous mitigation and firefighting methods.
Locally based company Perkins Builders has been awarded the contract to build the Centre, which is anticipated to be complete by the end of 2020, at the Peel Business Park in Nambeelup.
The Bushfire Centre of Excellence team has already been operating since July 2019 at an interim facility at the Pinjarra Heritage Train Station and have introduced new training programs for career and volunteer officers.
To view the Bushfire Centre of Excellence concept plan visit https://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/bushfirecoe
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“Today is a great day for Western Australia with work now underway to build what will be an Australian-first bushfire management centre.
“Not only has Western Australia significantly increased the level of mitigation throughout the State, but our emergency services are the most collaborative they have ever been.
“This new Centre will not only collect the best bushfire management research and practices from around the nation and world, but it will also harness the knowledge and skills of our volunteers and career officers who have spent decades working in this area.
“The Centre promises to become internationally renowned for the research and information that it will collect, but also for the level of training and skills development it will offer.”
As stated by Emergency Services Minister Francis Logan:
“The Bushfire Centre of Excellence facility will harness lessons learned from academia, science and traditional Aboriginal land practices.
“It will bring career and volunteer services and agencies together to learn from each other and work collaboratively to lead the way in the prevention and management of bushfires.
“This $18 million Centre is the cornerstone of our investment in mitigation to better protect the community against the threat of bushfires, as well as providing an opportunity to contribute national leadership and support to other States and Territories in bushfire management.
“The building’s unique design of curved walls and high raking ceilings reflects Indigenous Australia with the curved concrete resembling a river mouth and the roof representing the traditional humpy structure.”
As stated by Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke:
“There is great spirit and dedication among our emergency services volunteers in the electorate of Murray-Wellington who have faced some catastrophic bushfires in their time.
“Although the construction is now underway, the team behind the Bushfire Centre of Excellence have been in place in Pinjarra for many months now and have been running new training programs for the volunteers and career officers.
“They have fitted in well with the local community and their work not only benefits us locals, but I’m proud to say that our area is helping to make a significant contribution to the rest of the State with the knowledge and skills that the centre team are providing.”
As stated by Mandurah MLA David Templeman:
“This is a great opportunity for regional Western Australia to not only host this facility but also benefit from the research and best practice that it will gather.
“The skills and knowledge this facility will provide to help mitigate our bushfire risks and how best to respond to a bushfire when it does occur.
“The relatively close location to Mandurah means that our Peel region will also share in the benefits of this new Centre that will attract people from around WA, the nation, and potentially from overseas as well.”