SES unit faces cri­sis

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS -

Af­ter decades of help­ing the com­mu­nity, Co­bram’s State Emer­gency Ser­vice is fac­ing its own cri­sis.

It is the only SES unit in Vic­to­ria that has its head­quar­ters lo­cated in­ter­state, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult or im­pos­si­ble to re­spond to emer­gen­cies in time.

The near­est head­quar­ters is more than 20 km away in Tocumwal, which is why Co­bram SES is pe­ti­tion­ing the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment to build a head­quar­ters in Co­bram.

Co­bram unit con­troller John Stava said Co­bram res­i­dents were be­ing put in harm’s way be­cause of a lack of re­sources.

‘‘Ev­ery minute counts in ur­gent emer­gen­cies,’’ he said.

‘‘The bulk of our re­sources are 20 km away, which means if we need im­por­tant equip­ment some­one has to travel at least 40 km to get it.’’

There have been times when the SES needed to travel even fur­ther when it was forced to de­tour around the Goul­burn Val­ley Hwy due to flood­ing or de­bris.

‘‘Hav­ing a head­quar­ters in Co­bram would im­prove our re­sponse time con­sid­er­ably and at­tract volunteers for the ser­vice,’’ Mr Stava said.

He is ask­ing res­i­dents to sign the pe­ti­tion, which has been put up in 30 re­tail shops around Co­bram and sur­round­ing towns.

The pe­ti­tion was sug­gested by MP Tim McCurdy, who will table the pe­ti­tion in Par­lia­ment on be­half of the Co­bram com­mu­nity.

He vol­un­teered to put for­ward the pe­ti­tion him­self af­ter a state gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial asked the SES unit not to run the pe­ti­tion.

‘‘They were told in no un­cer­tain terms they weren’t to run a pe­ti­tion, and whether you want to call it a threat or not, it’s dis­ap­point­ing,’’ Mr McCurdy said.

‘‘We talk about peo­ple hav­ing their say and free­dom of speech and then to sug­gest to the SES they can’t run the pe­ti­tion is shame­ful.

‘‘We need a head­quar­ters here in Co­bram be­cause they do a great job.’’

Valid sig­na­to­ries must be res­i­dents of Vic­to­ria and should be res­i­dents of Moira Shire.

Emer­gency: Co­bram SES unit con­troller John Stava and vol­un­teer Car­rie Hawke want an SES head­quar­ters in Co­bram.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.