The article below was published by our friends at the Mandurah Mail yesterday about the announcement of the location of the future Bushfire Centre of Excellence.
For clarity, we would just like to add some context to the line in the article that says “The establishment of the Bushfire Centre of Excellence was identified as a major requirement in the Waroona Bushfire Special Inquiry.”
“In this report, recommendations are made in two contexts. First, 17 ‘Recommendations for Strategic Change’ are made. These are larger and more strategic proposals that will require whole of government attention.
Secondly, and supporting the above, 23 ‘Agency Opportunities for Improvement’ have been identified. These are actions that require the attention of one or more agencies either individually or collectively. In the main, these should be able to be undertaken by relevant agencies with changes of policy or by a redirection of internal resources.”
One of the Opportunities suggested by the Report of the Special Inquiry was this:
“When established, the Rural Fire Service, in conjunction with the Departments of Parks and Wildlife and Fire and Emergency Services, to establish a Western Australian Centre for Excellence in Rural and Forest Fire Management. The Centre to include a networked capability for research, planned burning, lessons learned and facilitating training for rural firefighters, especially for members of volunteer Brigades.”
While the Environment Minister wasn’t one of the politicians at the announcement and the government’s media statement didn’t mention the Parks and Wildlife Service, it seems pretty clear the government can put a big tick next to this one.
Lastly, just to address the fact that the government didn’t mention the location of the offices of the Rural Fire Division yesterday.
Given that the Premier committed to implement all the recommendations of the Ferguson Inquiry and Minister Logan has also publicly said the offices would be part of the BCoE, we have no reason to believe anything else has been planned. Indeed, that assumption is clear because our proposal to move the offices of the Association and develop our innovative Center for Bushfire Education and Heritage to the BCoE to create much stronger relationships and opportunities for collaboration with DFES is somewhat reliant on sharing the space with its Rural Fire Division.
As always, we will do our best to let members know if we learn of changes to the plan.
In a big boost for the Peel region, Premier Mark McGowan announced on Friday morning that a new Australian-first Bushfire Centre of Excellence will be based in the Shire of Murray.
The local council beat competition from 13 other locations to house the $18 million facility, which will be based on Lakes Road in Nambeelup.
The design is expected to be finalised in coming months, with the centre to focus on leadership, collaboration and innovation across the sector.
The establishment of the Bushfire Centre of Excellence was identified as a major requirement in the Waroona Bushfire Special Inquiry.
It is expected to enhance bushfire management practices delivered locally to firefighters across Western Australia, with the centre to focus on ‘real-life training.’
The Premier was joined on site by Emergency Services Minister Francis Logan, Mandurah MP David Templeman, Murray-Wellington MP Robyn Clarke and Department of Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm.
The new Bushfire Centre of Excellence head John Tillman and local firefighters were also in attendance, as was Shire of Murray president David Bolt and chief executive Dean Unsworth.
Mr McGowan said the Peel site was chosen for its close proximity to major transport links and also provides access to rural space ideal for training opportunities and learning experiences.
“Our volunteer and career firefighters work under extremely challenging conditions across our big state from Esperance to Kununurra and everywhere in between,” he said.
“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.”
Mr Logan said the centre would “better manage the large and complex bushfires that threaten WA year after year.”
Ms Clarke said establishing the centre 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,” she said.
Mr Templeman said the centre was a major coup for Mandurah and the wider Peel region.
“This will be a major boost for the region, creating jobs during construction and bringing increased activity to the area,” he said.
“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.”