There is no better time that “Right Now” to implement State Government changes that can help put the “Rural” back into the “Rural Fire Service”.
Relocation of the Rural Fire Service Head Office was always inevitable and now that the public has been informed of the pending relocation, perhaps it is timely to look at decentralisation.
RFS may soon be Homeless
In a Channel Seven news report, the need for the RFS to relocate was broadcast in a way that suggested the costs could become a burden for taxpayers but there are many other reports that suggest a move to a Regional area might be just what is required to return the focus to rural communities.
NSW Government decentralisation policy
In the NSW Decentralisation Taskforce Report, dated April 2013, the NSW Government made the following statements:
Government agency relocations
- The NSW Government should plan and implement a clear strategy to relocate appropriate public sector functions and jobs to regional NSW to stimulate regional economic development and support regional involvement in decision-making.
- The NSW Government should underpin the relocation of government business units and functions with strong business cases that match community needs and prospects for growth with regional servicing capacity and government functions. This will improve the prospects and sustainability of these relocations.
- The NSW Government should consider not only whole agency relocations but partial agency and co-location of services and discrete core business functions that demonstrate a natural fit with the communities in regional locations.
- State Owned Corporations, functions and jobs are also potential candidates for relocation to regional NSW and the Government should include these entities in its broader policy considerations on decentralisation.
- NSW Government decentralisation policy
- NSW Decentralisation Taskforce Report April 2013
- RFS may soon be homeless – 7 News
Congratulations to our New Minister
It was pleasing to hear the NSW Emergency Services Minister, Mr David Elliott MP state the simple facts when asked by Seven News about the need to relocate the RFS.
The Benefits of Relocation to a Regional Centre
There are as number of major NSW regional centres that have expressed an interest in the idea of moving the RFS Head Office to their region.
Decentralisation has many benefits including:
- The opportunity to design and build a new Head Office with more room for parking, storage of plant and equipment, training centre and other developments into the future.
- Moving the Head Office away from the problems associated with traffic and general city based congestion.
- Generally cheaper land and property acquisition rates.
- Moving Head Office closer to rural NSW.
- More central location. The Central West Region (see map below) is more centrally located than the Greater Sydney Region.
- Jobs for regional NSW.
- Increased business opportunities for the region or local community selected.