MLA slams fire station fund pull

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Liberal MP Libby Mettam has demanded the Vasse fire station project come to fruition.
Camera IconLiberal MP Libby Mettam has demanded the Vasse fire station project come to fruition. Credit: Taelor Pelusey/Busselton Dunsborough Times, Taelor Pelusey

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam has blasted the State Government for removing funding from the proposed Vasse fire station, saying population growth, tourism, and increased bushfire danger make it a needed addition to keep the Capes region safe.

“A career fire station in Vasse will provide valued support to the volunteer rescue services brigades for bushfire, structural fire, increasingly road crash rescue and hazardous material incidents,” she said. Ms Mettam said the Vasse station was a key recommendation of the Keelty report into the 2011 Margaret River bushfires.

“It is unacceptable that the McGowan Government removed future funding for the Vasse career fire station when coming to office in 2017,” she said.

“The Government said a decision had not been made and would be based on population changes, industry and urban development, infrastructure growth and bushfire risk.”

This month, Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan said the land was bought for the station in 2017, but there was “no decision made at this stage and other areas have taken priority for a new career station”.

His comments came in the wake of a Times report showing Parks and Wildlife firefighters had seen no increase in personnel or resources since 2011, and despite inquiries into the Eastern States fires this year, flagged no change in the region’s reliance on volunteer fireys.

City of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley said the station was wanted.

“The City would certainly be supportive of the establishment of a career fire station in the district and would also like to see additional State resources being directed towards bushfire risk mitigation,” he said.

Mr Logan pointed to the $7.2 million Bunbury fire station opened in 2017 which had 43 firefighters on call to defend the South West.

“The region is currently well resourced by the Busselton, Dunsborough and Margaret River Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services as well as the Bunbury Career Fire and Rescue Service,” Mr Logan said.

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