Emergency services personnel in Katherine will have access to some of the most modern facilities in the Northern Territory following a commitment by the Territory Labor Government to construct a new $8 million fire station in the town.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner unveiled the plan during his Government’s community caucus in Katherine last month, with local Member of the Legislative Assembly Sandra Nelson describing it as a major win for the dedicated men and women Katherinites relied on most.
“Earlier this year, we announced $5m would be committed to refurbish the existing police station, which also houses the NT Fire and Rescue Service,” Ms Nelson said.
“However, after consultation with police and fire service members, it was decided that Government would get the best value for money if that $5m was redirected with an additional $3m to build a brand new fire station.
“Katherine’s existing fire station is more than 30 years old and no longer fit for purpose; we owe it to our incredible emergency services staff to ensure they have first-class facilities from which to support and protect our community.”
The new fire station will be constructed adjacent to Katherine’s recently-built St John Ambulance station on the Stuart Highway, and the project includes the option of a $1.6m heavy vehicle crossover.
Ms Nelson said that the existing fire station infrastructure would be utilised by police, a move which would allow them to expand their operational footprint.
“It is envisioned that once firefighters have moved into the new station, the police can take over the old fire station and use the office and garage space,” she explained.
“The existing building will need some repairs and maintenance work, and I’ll be working with the Chief Minister, who is also the Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services, and the Treasurer to secure funding in 2018-19 Budget for this to happen.”
Mr Gunner said construction of the new fire station would provide both operational and economic positives for Katherinites.
“The new modern building, which has the support of the emergency services and the NT United Voice union, and been undertaken in consultation with the Katherine police and fire service, will create many local jobs in construction,” he said.
“Relocation of the fire station will also provide faster and safer access to the Stuart Highway for emergency vehicles.”
A concept development for the new fire station has already commenced, with the design tender scheduled to be released in May.