Creating a more unified approach to emergency services has taken an important step forward with the opening of a new major centre at the Wheatbelt town of Kulin, according to Emergency Services Minister Bob Wiese.
Mr Wiese said the new emergency services centre was the first major example of the Coalition Government's strategy to collocate emergency services under one roof instead of building separate headquarters.
The new building - which cost $280,000 - would house the local volunteers from the Fire and Rescue Service, St John Ambulance and the State Emergency Service.
"This new centre is an important step in achieving better cooperation and coordination between our volunteer emergency service groups," Mr Wiese said.
"Collocation will also create significant cost savings for local communities and Government agencies - monies which can be put towards training, equipment and vehicles."
Mr Wiese said the Government was committed to upgrading emergency service facilities and capabilities in country towns. Kulin was a prime example of a town expanding at a rate of roughly five per cent per annum.
"Collocation is an important means of keeping capital costs and overheads to a minimum while providing the local community with a high quality service," he said.
"The process also leads to a better standard of centre because the agencies are able to pool their resources and because they share the costs and funds there is a reduction in the duplication of amenities such as kitchens, toilets and showers."
Facilities at the new centre also include office space and a vehicle storage for each agency, as well as a common training room. The three agencies will share a communications tower.
Mr Wiese said all the emergency services personnel based at Kulin would learn about each other's roles and responsibilities, providing the local community with a more effective and efficient response to emergency management.
"Community spirit built the new emergency centre.
It was the tremendous work of the local Kulin Shire and the people of Kulin who made it possible for this project to reach fruition," he said.
"The local shire provided the land and played a major role in coordinating the development.
"It also owns the station's lease - the first time a rescue facility has been locally owned - and there are further plans to landscape the gardens and to meet maintenance costs for the lease's lifetime agreement."
The total cost of the facility was just over $280,000 - $150,000 of which was provided by the Fire and Rescue Service of WA, St John Ambulance donated $80,000 and State Emergency Service gave a further $20,000. The $30,000 shortfall was met by the local community.
Media contact: Mark Thompson 222 9595