Western Australia Minister for Emergency Services Rob Johnson
$2.7 Million Boost For Derby-West Kimberley Emergency Services
Victor P Taffa
The Derby-West Kimberley Community will be better equipped to deal with cyclones, floods, fires and other emergency incidents with the opening of the new Derby Collocated Emergency Services Facility.
Emergency Services Minister Rob Johnson today toured the $2.7 Million building, which will be the new home of the local Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service (VFRS) firefighters and State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers.
Mr. Johnson said the Derby facility would enhance the volunteers ability to respond to emergencies, including bush and structure fires; cyclones; floods; earthquakes; tsunamis; road crash rescue; and search and rescue incidents.
“In the last 12 months, Western Australia has experienced a number of major natural disasters, including severe tropical cyclone Laurence which threatened to pass over Derby as a category five system last December.” the Minister said.
“Local SES volunteers worked tirelessly for two weeks preparing the local Derby community. Fortunately, there were no reports of damage, but Laurence did cause significant damage to isolated communities between Port Hedland and Broome.”
“Derby SES volunteers were also deployed to Perth in March this year to assist their fellow volunteers after the worst storm in 16 years wreaked havoc across the Metropolitan Area.”
“They have also been frequently called upon to search for people missing from various tourist attractions in the Derby vicinity and supported other SES units throughout the State.” Mr. Johnson said.
“The Derby-West Kimberley community is fortunate to be able to rely on such a dedicated group of volunteers, especially when disaster strikes.”
“The State Government recognises the incredible job they do and how vital it is for the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA) frontline emergency services personnel to be well resourced to protect WA communities.”
The State Government had allocated $60.6 Million in the State Budget to increase emergency planning and response capabilities in communities across the State, which would include more capital funding grants to local governments, emergency service volunteers and vulnerable remote communities.
Mr. Johnson said the Government was also boosting FESA’s successful aerial burning program in the Kimberley region to further enhance the regional burning program, which involved dropping incendiary devices from aircraft and conducting aerial surveillance operations to plot fire movement.
The Derby VFRS firefighters respond to more than 100 incidents a year, including many bush and structure fires.
The Minister said a tough bushfire season was expected in the North-West during the next six months because wet weather had caused a significant increase in fuel loads and disrupted controlled burning programs.
In addition, a La Nina weather pattern was anticipated to increase the potential for earlier and more frequent tropical cyclones this coming season.
The Derby Collocated Emergency Services Facility is located at the corner of Derby Highway and Sutherland Street.