Emergency hub welcomed

MARONG will be better protected from emergencies by a new CFA and SES base. 

The $1.3 million site was officially unveiled by state government members on Sunday. 

Marong SES unit controller Kevin Cahill said the new facility was needed. 

“The old building had almost manual roller doors as well as a gate which slowed down the response times,” he said. 

“It was an old building on High Street near the golf club that was built by the council about 30 years ago.

“It’s amazing what they’ve done with the new buildings. 

“I know for us it’s going to be a better response time, we’ve got a unit we can get in and out of very quickly.” 

The building has improved storage facilities for both SES and CFA equipment. 

“We average around 80 jobs a year,” Mr Cahill said. 

“During the floods of 2010 and 2011 we had up to about 400 jobs. 

“We also cover some of California Gully and Eaglehawk and we cover a lot of the farms.” 

Marong CFA captain Gary Parlby said the brigade’s second vehicle had been stored at a chicken farm. 

“This allows us to put all of our vehicles in the one building whereas before we were spread out,” he said. 

“It makes a big difference. 

“It will certainly assist with our response times and we can make sure the vehicles are getting out on the road, fully crewed.” 

 The work of the organisations often overlaps, Mr Parlby said, with both often called to the same jobs. 

“We support each other,” he said. 

“We support the SES and they support us fantastically, and now that we’re sitting together it can only get better. 

“The brigade was based in a tin shed beside the tennis courts which had been there for 35 years.”

About 200 people attended the opening of the Cathcart Street site. 

CFA members also received long service awards, including Bill Shay who has been with the organisation for 50 years, and Roland McKinnnon, who has served 60 years. 

Andrew Justice was also awarded the National Medal for his service with the SES.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells said the work undertaken by both groups was important. 

“We think that these sorts of facilities where the CFA and SES are together provides greater efficiencies and greater co-operation,” he said. 

“Having them on a co-location means that they will work well. 

“The feeling here today in Marong has been fantastic. 

“We had a great crowd, a huge crowd come along to support the CFA and SES.” 

The CFA building cost $586,000 to construct and the SES building $720,000. 

Member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum said the groups undertook critical work in the community. 

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