Construction on a new training site for Sunraysia emergency services is expected to start early next year.
The Country Fire Authority (CFA) will share the 17-hectare site in Mildura with other emergency teams to facilitate training exercises.
It will significantly reduce travel time for volunteer crews using the Longrenong and Huntly training sites near Horsham and Bendigo.
CFA operations manager Bill Johnstone says the campus will feature hot fire training and driving tracks for volunteer firefighters to practise their skills.
“It’s not just about the acquisition of new skills. It’ll be about going out and practising your skills and becoming proficient,” he said.
“The more proficient you are the better the operations are, so we expect that we’ll see some real benefits to our firefighting expertise.”
He says a Sunraysia centre has been a long-time coming.
“We’ll have a hot fire training facility. So it’ll be a concrete pad to do hot fire training,” he said.
“There will be a fire house so we can do some internal fire attack, there will be an off-road driving track so we can do driver training, maintain and gain those skills.”
The Member for Mildura, Peter Crisp, turned the first sod at the Nineteenth Street site yesterday.
He says the council has signed a 30-year-lease for the land and the facility will be expanded over time.
“Tenders will be underway shortly,” he said.
“There’s already been some work done on site to bring electricity and water to the boundaries, so things are underway in a small way but I expect the major part of the work will be visible to the public in March, April and May next year.”