Construction on the multi-million dollar SES headquarters in Cairns is underway after the first sod was turned at the McNamara Street site today.
Police, Fire and Emergency Services Minister Jack Dempsey said the new headquarters, a joint project between the State Government and Cairns Regional Council, would ensure SES volunteers had the facilities they needed to do their duties in an emergency.
“For years the former Labor Government left Cairns SES volunteers to struggle in facilities that were too small and did not meet the flood level standards,” Mr Dempsey said.
“The Newman Government has long recognised the need to raise and expand the facility to ensure volunteers have easy access to their equipment.
“This is why we committed $1.25 million for the new headquarters, to ensure the SES volunteers are able to do what they want to do – help the people of Cairns in times of trouble.”
Cairns Regional Council contributed $750,000 to the new facility.
Member for Cairns Gavin King, who turned the first sod, said it was fantastic to see work starting on the headquarters.
“Every year our SES volunteers in Cairns put themselves in harm’s way to ensure the community is safe,” Mr King said.
“This new facility means they have a far better place to train, store their equipment and recharge.
“I would like to thank all of the volunteers for giving their time to help out the people of Cairns.”
Emergency Management Queensland Northern Region Director Wayne Coutts said Cairns SES members had operated from a relocated school building for more than 30 years.
“The building can no longer sustain this very strong active group,” Mr Coutts said.
“Years of hard work, planning and negotiations culminated today in the ceremonial turning of the first sod to mark the start of construction of the new $2 million SES Headquarters for Cairns.
“While construction occurs over the next five months, the dedicated Cairns SES volunteers will support their community as they train and conduct operations from their temporary base made up of several demountable buildings, shipping containers and even a few familiar yellow SES tarps.”