Centre shot fired

By Chris Thomson | posted on November 16, 2018

ALBANY, Denmark and Plantagenet have jointly lodged a proposal to host the State’s bushfire centre of excellence but the Government will not reveal who else is in the running.

Asked this week if the consortium of councils from the Lower Great Southern did throw its hat in the ring, as The Weekender revealed they had planned to (‘Joint bid for centre’, 18 October), a City of Albany spokesman said “yes”.

Asked in Parliament on November 6 to release names of metropolitan and regional municipalities that had lodged a proposal, Labor MLC Stephen Dawson on behalf of Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan said he could not.

Liberal MLC for South West Steve Thomas had told Parliament that, as the process was not a formal tender one, commercial-in-confidence provisions did not apply.

But through Mr Dawson, Mr Logan said the process had been conduct according to a State procurement guide that required details of proposals to be kept under wraps.

Unless the State makes an announcement in the meantime, the public will only learn which metropolitan and regional municipalities were in the running after a decision has been made on the winner.

Dr Thomas further asked whether the State was seeking concurrent Federal funding for the centre.

The metropolitan Perth Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale has proposed that $5 million of Federal money go toward a $23 million centre within its boundaries.

“Our Shire is ideally situated to support this facility,” a Serpentine-Jarrahdale glossy says.

“Only 40 minutes from the Perth CBD and well-connected to regional centres across WA via transport infrastructure, we are also passionate about local emergency response.

“Our Shire has a range of existing relationships with key stakeholders such as the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, local environmental groups, tertiary institutions and primary producers.”

The City of Albany spokesman said Federal funding had not been a part of the Great Southern submission.

“We have not yet received any feedback regarding the submission,” he said.

Dr Thomas, who is Shadow Minister for Emergency Services, has been consulting widely on the centre with municipalities in the Great Southern and Southwest.

Based on these consultations he recently said he anticipated proposals from the Lower Great Southern group of three, Pinjarra and Waroona or a combination of both, Collie, Bunbury possibly in partnership with Dardanup or Collie, Busselton and Manjimup.

He has been urging the Government not to base the centre – which aims to train volunteer fire fighters – in metropolitan Perth.