Please find below a media statement from the Shadow Minister for Emergency Services, Hon Dr Steve Thomas MLC regarding the government’s announcement the Bushfire Centre of Excellence will be built in the Shire of Murray.

The State Government has succumbed to pressure from the State Opposition and South West communities and agreed to locate the Bushfire Centre of Excellence in the  South West.

Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Steve Thomas said the Opposition had been advocating for months for the Centre of Excellence to be located no further north than Pinjarra and within the South West or Great Southern.

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“It was the height of political opportunism that the Labor Party signalled early its intention to site the project in Darlington in the Shire of Mundaring, which would have been a massive snub to rural communities,” Dr Thomas said.

“It has taken the pressure of myself as Shadow Minister, and various local councils in the South West, to ensure the Government saw reason and has decided to locate the centre in Pinjarra.

“This decision has taken way too long when the location of the South West was a no-brainer.

“The McGowan Government has been playing politics with our vital emergency services for too long.

“Its focus needs to be on community protection, not what will win it the most votes.”

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Dr Thomas said it was gleaned from questions he had asked of the Minister for Emergency Services in June that the Government was still considering Darlington as an option for a co-located Rural Fire Division and Bushfire Centre of Excellence.

“The Minister did indicate that both the Rural Fire Division and the Bushfire Centre of Excellence would be constructed on the same site, which makes sense, and this must happen,” Dr Thomas said.

“It has been glaringly obvious to everyone, except this Government, that the Rural Fire Division and the Bushfire Centre of Excellence should be located in the country, not in the metropolitan region.

“I am pleased the Government has finally listened to the advocacy of the Opposition and made its decision to locate the Centre of Excellence in Pinjarra.

“It must now ensure the Centre is up and running as soon as possible.”

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