My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Emergency Services, and the action I seek is that he ensure a new, appropriately located site for the Shepparton fire brigade is found and any land transfers are completed as a priority to provide much-needed reassurance to the Shepparton Country Fire Authority (CFA) and the broader community and that he announce the chosen site and the time frame for commencement of this important project.
As the minister would no doubt be aware, discussions around a new site for the Shepparton fire brigade have been afoot for at least two years. The current fire station is on a small site in the centre of the Shepparton CBD and faces the challenge not only of having little room to expand, as is now required, but also of fire trucks negotiating the busy street and a highly patronised bus interchange when responding to call-outs. The current situation is not acceptable, and it is, I think, an unusual situation when funding for a new station has been allocated and is sitting in an account somewhere waiting to be spent on this really important project.
I wrote to the minister in January this year to express my concern about the considerable delay in this project progressing, and I was pleased to be able to facilitate a face-to-face meeting at my office in February between the minister and the officer in charge of the Shepparton fire station, Mr Peter Dedman.
I am a firm believer in hearing directly from those on the ground when it comes to identifying not only community needs but also solutions, and I know it was valuable for that meeting to have taken place between the minister and our CFA officer in charge. However, I would say that it is disappointing to note that some four months later there has still been no announcement as to a final resolution, despite discussions having taken place between the parties in relation to the land usage and the relevant site and how best to accommodate competing needs. I hope that this project will not stall again.