Nationals Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has officially opened a new $5 million NSW Rural Fire Service Area Command Centre, air base and brigade station at Cowra.
RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers and Cowra Mayor Bill West joined the Minister to open the new co-located Area Command Centre and Waugoola Rural Fire Brigade Station, and hand over five new fire tankers, worth almost $1 million, to local volunteers.
The new facility, in the Cowra Airport Precinct, includes an office for Area Command staff, a warehouse to securely store essential equipment, an air base, and the Waugoola Rural Fire Brigade Station.
Ms Cooke said the new facility would significantly improve fire safety in the region and help keep local communities safe.
“The NSW Government is continuing to invest in state-of-the-art facilities like this one here in Cowra to better equip our emergency services personnel for their vital work to protect our communities,” Ms Cooke said.
“The RFS members who operate from these facilities are valued members of their communities. They are local people making local decisions to protect life and property year round.”
Commissioner Rogers said the Area Command Centre would accommodate staff supporting almost 450 volunteer brigades across the RFS Western Area Command, which stretches from Lithgow to Wilcannia and Harden to Brewarrina, and covers more than 65 per cent of NSW.
“The airbase will provide us with enhanced capability for deploying aircraft as needed during emergencies across the west of the state,” Commissioner Rogers said.
“This excellent new multipurpose facilities and equipment are greatly welcomed by the local staff, volunteers and the communities they serve.”
The Minister officially handed the keys over to a $356,000 tanker to the Waugoola 1 Brigade, a $214,000 tanker to each of the Gap 7 and Woodstock 7 Brigades, and a $204,000 tanker to each of the Darby Falls 7 and Wattamondara 7 Brigades.