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$1.8m training boost for Sunraysia
Emergency services personnel in Victoria’s northwest will have access to a state-of-the-art $1.8 million dollar training ground, following a ceremony to mark the announcement of the new facility at Mildura.
For the first time the Region’s 5,000 volunteers, from 76 brigades, will be able to receive vital practical firefghter training close to home, ensuring a better prepared firefighting force for the northwest.
Previously, volunteers were required to travel to Horsham or Bendigo to receive practical training, some having to travel as far as 300 kilometres.
The need for training that is efficient, timely and appropriate was identified by the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission and the Jones Inquiry into CFA’s arrangement with its volunteers.
To be constructed on a 17.8 hectare site near Mildura Airport, the Field Training Campus will provide local firefighters with “hot” fire training, class based learning and, eventually, a driver training course.
Lex de Man, CFA’s Executive Director of Operational Training and Volunteerism, with Member for Mildura Peter Crisp MLA, unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion.
Mr de Man said the new facility would end the tyranny of distance for local emergency service personnel seeking training.
“We ask a lot of our volunteers who dedicate a large part of their lives to training so they can effectively protect their local communities,” Mr de Man said.
“The Sunraysia Field Training Campus will ensure our people can receive training close to home, from local people.
Acting CFA Loddon Mallee Regional Director Mike Wassing said local volunteers, including instructors, would be the key to the facilities success.
“There is a wealth of firefighting experience and knowledge in the northwest which we can even more effectively tap into to train local volunteer firefighters.”
He said the facility was designed in consultation with volunteers and would also be available for use by other emergency services such as SES.
Funded from the Victorian Government’s Volunteer Support Program, construction is expected to begin early next year with Phase 1 completed by June 2014.
Tenders for the project will be released in coming weeks.
The land has been leased from Mildura Rural City Council.
The development is also expected to provide a large economic benefit to the Sunraysia community, utilising local contractors and construction workers.