Wallaby Joe Rural Fire Service will share in $1.063 million in funding from the NSW Nationals in the federal government to ramp up bushfire resilience across the MidCoast.
The brigade shed at Wingham will be more than doubled in size to cater for triple the number of volunteers since the 2019-20 bushfires.
Federal Nationals Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie said MidCoast Council would receive Federal support for a number of important initiatives under the Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants Program.
Wallaby Joe Rural Fire Service – Expand existing RFS Shed into a regional fire training hub – training and meeting rooms, toilet/shower facilities, additional parking & storage – $325,000
Household Emergency Plan incentive project – Free fire response kit – portable radio, torch, USB charger and document pouch – on completion of a household emergency plan – $497,259
Catering Brigade improvements – Purchase cool rooms to store food and drinks close to fire grounds – $80,000
Rural community bushfire resilience training – Training for local landholders in fuel reduction & fire management plans, develop online resources to support landholders – $161,153
Total – $1.063 million
“There are some standout projects here to help our communities prepare for and respond to future bushfire threats,” Dr Gillespie said.
“Council is keen to incentivise households to complete their Emergency Plans ahead of the next fire season and also to offer on-the-ground training in preparedness and fuel reduction. I commend Council on these practical measures to better protect our community.”
Deputy Mayor Alan Tickle joined Dr Gillespie at Wallaby Joe Shed to look at plans for the upgrades.
“Council sincerely thanks Dr Gillespie and the Australian Government for their investment in better preparing the MidCoast for future fire events,” Cr Tickle said.
“The fires of 2019-2020 were devastating for so much of our local government area and we are looking forward to working with our community to ensure we can put programs in place to help us in future events, both through education, planning and support for our fantastic rural fire volunteers.”
Wallaby Joe RFS Vice President Gary Cox said the $325,000 in Federal funding would ensure there was a proper local station command centre and training hub.
“Our number of volunteers has now tripled since the 2019-20 bushfires, with a significant increase in our female members,” Mr Cox said. “Our shed will be expanded to become a regional hub allowing us to undertake appropriate training and build amenities to cater for all volunteers.”