The City of Busselton intends to submit a proposal to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services to build the WA Bushfire Centre of Excellence.
Once developed, the centre will form part of the new Rural Fire Division within DFES.
It is 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.
City of Busselton mayor Grant Henley said Busselton would be an excellent base for the centre and they were investigating a number of potential sites which could be put forward.
“The City of Busselton is in an ideal location, with the largest number of bushfire volunteers, excellent access to a wide variety of sites that can be used for training purposes,” he said.
“Busselton has everything from urban land to national parks, along with its airport which is an important asset.
“The city also has a wonderful track record managing construction projects, addressing another of the key selection criteria outlined by the state.”
The city will be competing with other regional areas in WA, with at least five local governments in the South West and Great Southern expressing interest.
Collie, 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 that 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 region 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,” 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 ultimately be central to bushfire management.”
DFES has asked local governments to find a parcel of land (or existing facility) and to build the new facility for the purpose of hosting the centre.
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