Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said construction has started on the $10 million Swifts Creek Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) office and depot.
The redevelopment is part of the State Government’s stronger regional focus and commitment to boost service delivery to regional areas.
Mr Bull said Swifts Creek is a crucial Level 3 Incident Control Centre, meaning it is able to handle a full-scale, multi-agency emergency incident as well as playing a key role in planned burning operations.
“The office will be completely redeveloped to bring all emergency management functions and facilities under one roof and provide improved response to community stakeholder expectations and a one stop shop community service,” Mr Bull said.
“The depot will provide purpose-built facilities designed to ensure a safer work environment, assist day to day works delivery and emergency preparation and response operations.
“The existing facilities are aged and disjointed with a number of extensions and portable buildings added over the years to cater for increasing staff numbers, evolving technology and the sophisticated emergency management operations we have today.
“The new layout will ensure improved integration and communications between emergency management staff. It will significantly strengthen our ability to effectively manage emergency situations and planned burning operations in this remote district,” he said.
DEPI Swifts Creek District Manager Ben Rankin said Swifts Creek is a remote and complex district with large areas of public and private land which are prone to fire activity. A suite of public land management activities are undertaken from this work centre.
“Swifts Creek has historically played a major role in emergency management operations – in recent years this has included the 2003 Alpine fires, the 2005 locust plague, the 2006/07 Great Divide fires and the Harrietville Alpine fire in 2013.
“The redevelopment will be built in stages to minimise interruption to our works delivery, emergency response and planned burning operations. It is anticipated the redevelopment will be complete prior to the 2014-15 fire season,” Mr Rankin said.