Emergency hub on hold amid location rethink

DEVELOPMENT of Morwell’s emergency services hub has been halted until an alternative location is found.

The State Government’s $8 million hub, housing Morwell Fire Brigade and Ambulance Victoria, was to be situated north of the township in the vicinity of Holmes Road and English Street.

But it’s now back to the drawing board for the Country Fire Authority, after the government advised it to seek an alternative location, with the possibility of the two emergency services being housed separately.

According to the government, the decision came after concern was raised by the local community and brigade about the hub’s location and potential safety issues.

However, the government did not specify exactly what concerns were raised.

“Our emergency service personnel deserve suitable facilities and this decision will enable us to get it right,” Member for Eastern Victoria and Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Services Harriet Shing said.

The State Coalition committed $5 million to a new Morwell fire station in 2014 and in the 2015 state budget the government allocated a further $3 million for an ’emergency services hub’.

District 27 operations manager Bill Johnstone said a hub would enable “what is already a very close relationship” between the two emergency services to become even closer, but welcomed the opportunity to explore options further to get the best outcome for the community and organisations involved.

Ambulance Victoria Gippsland regional director Simon Jemmett said a new facility would further support paramedics’ work in the community, and he looked forward to future announcements.

Member for Morwell Russell Northe was pleased the development had been suspended until a suitable site was found.

But it was a shame that community and local crews were not consulted before the original location was chosen, he said.

The Express understands alternative locations are currently under consideration.