Tuesday, 17 November 2020
THE ability for the New England Rural Fire Service (RFS) to co-ordinate and combat large-scale bushfires has received a significant boost in the 2020-21 NSW Budget, with Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall welcoming $1.7 million to commence construction of a new Fire Control Centre at Armidale Regional Airport.
Mr Marshall said the $6 million state-of-the art building would be built at the northern end of the airport, co-located with the RFS aviation base, logistics building and winch training facility.
“Over several years New England RFS has worked to expand its firefighting capacity by bringing all its capabilities together on one site through the construction of the New England Aviation Airbase and Logistics Brigade,” Mr Marshall said.
“This funding today kick-starts the final stage of that project, with a new FCC to replace the current, outdated facility on Mann Street.
“While the Mann Street FCC has served the community for many years, with the increasing frequency and ferocity of bushfires it is too small and lacks the equipment to successfully manage significant blazes.
“With enough space to accommodate a full Incident Management Team of more than 10 people the Armidale Airport FCC will be equipped with the very best digital mapping and communication capabilities.
“The project is shovel ready with the road, kerb and guttering, street lights already in place and final Development Application approved by Armidale Regional Council.
“Having a modern Fire Control Centre located at Armidale and Glen Innes will allow for a more cohesive firefighting effort and hopefully a greater protection of property and lives.”
Mr Marshall said having the FCC located at Armidale Regional Airport would facilitate the swift deployment of assets during major fire events.
“Last fire season not only did we have more than twenty water bombing helicopters operating out of Armidale Airport but it was where fresh interstate volunteers were brought into,” he said.
“In a disaster where every second counts it is simply not practical to have fires managed from Glen Innes, as was the case this year, when the bulk of the main fire-fighting assets are located in Armidale.
“I congratulate New England RFS for the work it has done planning for this project and I now look forward to working with the service and Armidale Regional Council to have this building delivered and operational, hopefully before the next extreme fire event.”