My adjournment matter is for the acting Minister for Police and Emergency Services, and the action I seek is funding certainty for the Port Fairy SES to build a new base co-located with the local CFA brigade.
I have raised this issue several times in this place. I raised it during the debate on the Emergency Management Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 on 8 March 2018, then again in a constituency question on 20 June 2018, in an adjournment on 10 September 2019, in another constituency question on 4 March 2020, in a members statement on 13 October 2020 and then during my reply to the latest state budget papers.
My contributions in this place are on top of all the countless letters and communications to the minister advocating on behalf of the volunteers. I also pledged ahead of the 2018 state election that this joint base would be a project that a Liberal government would fund because I understand how important this project is.
Despite all this advocacy, so far all the Andrews Labor government have done is put up a sign and provide a wishy-washy commitment that the relevant agencies are working together to progress the development.
The minister, or acting minister, needs to come and see what these volunteers are working out of in Port Fairy. If they saw it for themselves, they would understand just how dire the situation is. I have been there many times now. One day it was pouring rain and there were buckets all over the place catching the leaks from the roof.
There is a hole in the floor. There just is not enough room for the working group to do the things they need to do, such as the important training they do. There are also access issues, with vehicles needing access past the public toilets in front of the building parking across the front gates. The facility is holding the group back in terms of their response to emergencies and in recruiting new members. I mean, who would want to join a group that is based out of a leaky old shed with the most basic of facilities?
Then there are the issues surrounding the ongoing lease of the building, with the landlord indicating that they want the site back. They have so far been willing to wait until the SES have a new site. Who knows how long that willingness will continue? I understand there has been some background work happening.
The SES in Port Fairy are concerned that the new fire station seems to be progressing faster than their plans. It is the desire of everyone involved to have both services co-locate, and the fear is that the SES is being left behind. I am asking the minister to give his guarantee that funding to build the new SES base will be provided in the May budget to provide certainty for the SES volunteers and the community who rely on them to keep safe.