13 February 2023

$8.5 million fire control and emergency centre starts construction in Snowy Monaro

| Albert McKnight
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The first sod is turned for the fire control and emergency management centre in Cooma. MPs Steph Cooke (second left) and Nichole Overall (centre), as well as Commissioner Rob Rogers (far right) took part in the occasion. Photo: Nichole Overall MP Facebook.

Construction has begun on the new emergency management hub for the Snowy Monaro, which will help to ensure the region is prepared in the event of another disaster like the Black Summer bushfires.

The $8.5 million co-located fire control and emergency operations centre is being built at Cooma, with dignitaries visiting the site to turn the first sod for the facility earlier this month.

NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Commissioner Rob Rogers, who visited the site on the day, said it had been “a lot of work by a lot of people to make this happen”.

“It’s really important because this area gets some big fires and it gets some big incidents, so they need a facility that can do that properly,” he said.

“A proper emergency management centre, co-located with an emergency operation centre, all the agencies under one roof, working together to make sure they deliver for the communities.”

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Jim Darrant, RFS district manager for field operations, said the new centre would provide the community with “a world-class facility for supporting our firefighters going forward into the next decades”.

When built, the centre will have an operations and logistics centre, two helipads, vehicle bays and storage, training rooms and administration offices.

More than 230,000 hectares were burnt across the Snowy Monaro in the devastating Black Summer fires in 2019-2020 and Cooma’s current emergency control centre was pivotal to operations in the region.

The RFS says this highlighted the need for a bigger and better facility capable of accommodating the large teams needed to manage a disaster of that scale.

“We know from the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires we need to enhance our frontline capability, which includes having major emergency management hubs in key locations like Cooma,” Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience Steph Cooke said.

“This fire control and emergency operations centre will bring all our emergency services organisations under one roof, with the best technology and resources, to keep our communities safer and stronger from whatever hazards emerge.”

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Commissioner Rogers thanked the Snowy Monaro Regional Council and Snow Hydro Limited for their help in securing the location for the new centre.

“This facility will ensure members of the 33 brigades in this region have access to the latest technology and resources to respond to emergencies,” he said.

Member for Monaro Nichole Overall, who also attended the sod turning, thanked the region’s emergency services members, frontline workers and volunteers.

The centre is funded by the NSW Government.

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