This statement is directed at the acting Minister for Police and Emergency Services and again relates to the Port Fairy SES unit and their quest for a new home base co-located with the town’s CFA brigade. I thought after funding was finally delivered in the 2021 budget after six years of lobbying I might not have to speak about this topic for a while, but here we are a month after the budget and we have hit a snag already. I had a call from the unit commander, Steve McDowell, over the past weekend, who gave me an update on the group’s situation, given the base was condemned and they have had to make alternative arrangements to try and find places to store the vehicle, which they have not actually been able to do in Port Fairy but have had to go to other towns.
The acting minister might be interested to know that the actual ceiling caved in just a week after they had to evacuate the building when it was condemned. But what I was really shocked about was when Steve told me that the new build still has not been put out to tender. Now, that is despite the design work being finished and the project literally being shovel ready. All they were waiting for was funding. The volunteers are being told that when it does go to tender it will take three months for that process to be finalised, but let us remember it has not even gone out yet. This is now getting ridiculous. The CFA building is already under construction on the site. They will be sharing many of those facilities with the SES. Surely there is a way to get this process sped up so that the Port Fairy SES have a chance of moving into their new home at the same time as the CFA brigade. They deserve a little bit of consideration here.