SES funding a win for community advocacy

Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell says confirmation the Port Fairy SES would receive funding to move to a new joint base with the town’s CFA brigade is a long-awaited win for community advocacy.

The $4 million commitment announced in today’s budget papers ends six years of lobbying the Andrews Government to address the inadequacies of the unit’s facilities.

Ms Britnell said she first visited the unit in 2015, just prior to her election as Member for South West Coast

“I remember then thinking this isn’t good enough – the roof was leaking and it just wasn’t up to scratch. They didn’t have what they needed to efficiently service the community,” she said.

“For almost six years I have been raising this matter with the responsible Ministers and in the chamber – I know Unit Controller Steve McDowell has also been advocating strongly and until this point the Andrews Labor Government has ignored those calls.

“Today’s announcement is finally a win for that advocacy.

“The Port Fairy SES will finally have the facilities and space they need to continue to serve the community and to be able to attract new members.

Ms Britnell said the Government had no other option but to provide the funding given the SES’s building was condemned last week and the unit left without a place to base themselves.

“I don’t think we should be congratulating the Government for this announcement – This isn’t a chance to pat them on the back and say well done – It’s because of Government inaction the unit was left without a home base and community advocacy has backed into a corner.

“This is a win for the community and for strong advocacy – that is what forced the Government’s hand.”

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