Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

New regional SES base in Benalla

A $1.5 million State Emergency Service regional headquarters was officially opened in Benalla.

MONIQUE FREER April 4, 2014 9:14am

Ready for any emergency: SES chief operations officer Trevor White, State Member for Benalla Bill Sykes, SES regional manager Keith O’Brien and emergency services personnel celebrated the opening of the $1.5 million SES regional headquarters in Benalla last Friday.

Emergency management across north-east Victoria has been given a boost with the opening of a $1.5million State Emergency Service regional headquarters in Benalla last Friday.

The new facility is home to 15 permanent staff and an incident control centre, as well as improved training facilities.

SES regional manager Keith O’Brien said the opening was an exciting occasion for both staff and volunteers.

‘‘It’s a great facility ... it’s a big improvement on what we’ve had,’’ Mr O’Brien said.

Up to 60 people can work at the headquarters to manage multiple incidents, and the facility is designed to be sectioned off to improve productivity of its staff during such an event.

SES chief operations officer Trevor White said the regional headquarters would give greater support for volunteers as well as greater staff output.

‘‘It’s a real coming-of-age for the organisation to see that across the state now we’re providing our regions, our staff and our volunteers with decent facilities to work out of, and most importantly we’re providing and equipping ourselves with some really good capability,’’ he said.

Mr White said Benalla was a central location for the Hume region, which takes in areas as far as Marysville, Corryong and Cobram.

The Sydney Rd facility was officially opened by State Member for Benalla Bill Sykes, who said it was important to have a facility that could be used by other agencies during large emergency events.

‘‘The new SES regional headquarters in Benalla is particularly important for this region which has been subject to floods, storms and fires,’’ Dr Sykes said.

‘‘In regional areas, the SES is an exceptionally important part of any emergency response and partner to the other services.

‘‘SES volunteers and staff are prepared to swing in to action at any time of the day or night, and do what needs to be done to keep the local community safe and informed during an emergency or natural disaster or to help others.’’

The state government committed $47.23million to the SES in its 2013-14 budget to support the more than 4500 SES volunteers across the state.

Last financial year SES volunteers worked 325274 hours supporting communities across Victoria.

‘‘Whether it’s a severe storm, flood, earthquake, car accident, search and rescue or supporting another emergency agency, the SES can be relied on to provide assistance,’’ Dr Sykes said.

‘‘That’s why it’s important that SES personnel have the equipment and facilities to help them carry out their vital work.’’

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