The Shire of Collie intends to submit a proposal to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services for the WA Bushfire Centre of Excellence to be built and located in the area.
Once developed, the centre will form part of the new Rural Fire Division within DFES.
The $18 million centre will be an Australian first, set to provide the best access to bushfire knowledge, training, technical expertise, science and research and focus on best practice working with volunteers, scientists and practitioners.
Shire of Collie chief executive officer David Blurton said Collie would be a viable location for the centre.
“It would be great for Collie. It’s exactly the kind of thing we are trying to diversify our economy into and we’re also in a high bushfire risk area, so it makes sense,” he said.
Mr Blurton said in order to submit a proposal, the shire required letters of support from other local governments.
Our close neighbouring councils will hopefully put in a letter of support, especially ones we share close boundaries with like the Shire of Dardanup, the Shire of Harvey, the Shire of West Arthur and the Shire of Donnybrook.Shire of Collie chief executive officer David Blurton
“Our close neighbouring councils will hopefully put in a letter of support, especially ones we share close boundaries with like the Shire of Dardanup, the Shire of Harvey, the Shire of West Arthur and the Shire of Donnybrook,” he said.
“It’s in their best interest that they have something within close proximity to them as well.”
Along with Collie, Busselton, Manjimup, Nannup and Albany have also indicated they will lobby DFES to host the facility.
South West MLC Dr Steve Thomas said it was critical local governments in the region took part in the process or the centre could be based in the metropolitan region.
Dr Thomas said if the centre was located in the metropolitan area it would be a “massive snub to rural communities.”
I believe that the Rural Fire Division and the Bushfire Centre of Excellence should be located in the country, not in the metropolitan region.South West MLC Dr Steve Thomas
“I believe that the Rural Fire Division and the Bushfire Centre of Excellence should be located in the country, not in the metropolitan region,” he said.
“To be taken seriously it should be no further north than Pinjarra and must be in the South West or Great Southern.
“The Bushfire Centre of Excellence is set to be the state’s primary area for training bushfire volunteers and professionals, and the Rural Fire Division will be central to bushfire management.”
DFES has asked local governments to find a parcel of land (or existing facility) and to build the facility for the purpose of hosting the new centre.