The Nationals leader and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, has guaranteed Rochester’s first responders will get their long overdue state-of-the-art operations complexes.
Mr Walsh says if elected to government, he will immediately meet with both the local CFA and SES to discuss the best-possible outcome for both groups.
He says that might mean a combined site, or each group in a different location.
“This is not just a campaign wish list, this is a rock-solid guarantee both these vital, volunteer service groups get the facility and the equipment they need to be effective in the years ahead,” Mr Walsh says.
“Their importance cannot be underestimated, and their work during the flood was further confirmation of their importance in the Rochester community,” he says.
“Along with the Rochester community, I have been campaigning for a major rebuild of first responder facilities there for years – just looking at my notes shows in just the past three years I have taken it to the floor of Parliament twice, I have gone through local media, my office team, who deal with the many calls and visits from locals on the subject, have used that information for me to send to everyone from the Premier, to the relevant Ministers and to the head offices of both organisations.
As well as fighting local fires and protecting its community, Rochester CFA has been a dedicated campaign brigade, sending many firefighters, year after year, to help other communities and regions under siege from bushfires.
Mr Walsh says when you have a fire brigade operating at that level – “volunteers prepared to put their lives on hold to help others” – then they should be given all the assistance they need.
“The sum total of those years, those generations, of community commitment and service is being left with a station so far past its use-by date its members don’t have anywhere to hang their turnout gear and valuable equipment has to be stored offsite because they simply can’t fit it in,” he says.
“Is that any way to say ‘thank you’ to people who not only give so much, but literally put their lives on the line on a regular basis? I don’t think so.
“And Rochester SES, like most of the town, went under in the most recent flood and we can’t afford risks like that in future emergencies, these groups need to be able to function at their maximum capacity, not be rushing around worrying about their own facilities.
“That why I am telling every family in Rochester and district that a Liberals Nationals government after November 26 will be back here first thing to get the ball rolling.”