Emergency services agencies in North East Victoria are now able to better co-ordinate their responses to emergencies with the opening of a $1.3 million Level 3 Incident Control Centre (ICC) in Shepparton.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Emergency Services Peter Ryan today joined Member for Shepparton Jeanette Powell to officially open the upgraded facility which gives emergency services personnel access to improved communications and information technology.
“This ICC has the capacity to handle level 3 incidents which are the most complex and potentially damaging emergencies,” Mr Ryan said.
“The facility is a permanent base where the Country Fire Authority (CFA), Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE), Victoria Police and State Emergency Services staff operate in the event of emergencies.”
Mr Ryan said upgrades to the Shepparton ICC, including a building extension, were completed in December 2011, which ensured the facility had been up and running during the floods earlier this year.
“The upgrades allowed incident controllers to provide the latest maps, weather and warnings information to men and women on the frontline,” Mr Ryan said.
“On behalf of all Victorians I would like to take the opportunity to thank our local emergency agencies for their commitment and hard work during the flood event early this year.”
During the floods a multi-agency Incident Management Team was based at the ICC on a 24-hour basis for 14 days to co-ordinate an emergency response throughout the Goulburn Valley.
Member for Shepparton Jeanette Powell said the Shepparton ICC would also be used by the CFA to train personnel and work with communities to better prepare for emergencies.
“Our emergency services play a crucial role in protecting lives and property and the Victorian Coalition Government is proud to support these men and women,” Mrs Powell said.
The CFA contributed $335,000 towards the refurbishment, with the building owner funding the remainder of the $1.38 million project.
Media contact: Sonia Heath 0413 485 526
A new $4.8 million facility that will give Victorians greater access to biodiesel was officially opened in Melbourne today by Minister for Manufacturing, Exports and Trade Richard Dalla-Riva.
Representing Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan, Mr Dalla-Riva said the facility at Shell’s Newport Terminal would store biodiesel, which is made from tallow – an abattoir waste product – and used cooking oil.
“The Barnawartha refining facility represents a $60 million investment in regional Victoria, which can produce up to 60 million litres of biodiesel each year,” Mr Dalla-Riva said.
“Shell’s investment in this facility will give people in Victoria greater access to biodiesel produced in regional Victoria, which will support jobs and investment and expand the local biofuels industry.”
Mr Ryan said the Newport storage facility would enable the annual distribution of up to 50 million litres of biodiesel into Victoria’s retail distribution channels.
“This will improve the diversity of fuel supplied in Victoria and underpin the future of Australian Renewable Fuels’ (ARF’s) Barnawartha plant and its 24 employees. It will also create many more indirect jobs that support the regional supply chain,” Mr Ryan said.
“Replacing diesel with biodiesel reduces emissions. Biodiesel is non-toxic, biodegradable and suitable for sensitive environments. It has a higher flashpoint which makes it safer to store and transport.”
Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government had provided $2 million funding towards the storage facility.
Shell Vice-President of Downstream Australia Andrew Smith said after a lengthy and robust quality assurance process he was confident of supplying a B20 product of consistently high quality to the Victorian market.
“This has been a collaborative effort between Shell, the Victorian Government and ARF in Barnawartha,” Mr Smith said.
CFA members from across the region have come together in Sale over the weekend as part of the inaugural Gippsland Regional CFA Community Engagement Forum.
Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the important event would allow CFA members at the frontline of emergency response to share initiatives and take away different ideas how to best support local communities.
“We’ve got a lot of enthusiastic brigades and members out there and the Gippsland Community Engagement Forum is about supporting them to develop their skills,” Mr Ryan said.
“We need to continually improve and update the way we approach community engagement – it’s about thinking differently and being innovative.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the ideas that come from this forum, and using them to better support our members in the future as they promote bushfire preparedness among their communities.”
Mr Ryan said the forum was also an opportunity to recognise the great work CFA does at the local level.
“CFA volunteers play a crucial role in protecting the lives and property of all Victorians and we are fortunate to be able to call upon these steadfast men and women in difficult times,” Mr Ryan said.
“The Victorian Coalition Government allocated almost $57 million to emergency services in its 2012-13 State Budget, including $22.9 million to build or upgrade rural fire stations across the state.
“The government also recently announced that almost $12 million in grants will be available under the Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program to help agencies purchase much-needed equipment and resources to support day-to-day operations.”
The forum is a local version of the statewide Community Engagement and Fire Awareness Forum held last October in Macedon, and is being held from Saturday, 26 May to Sunday, 27 May at the Sale Sporting Legends Club, Sale.
Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 108 870
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