MEDIA RELEASE: Brand new, state-of-the-art facility opens for VICSES Knox Unit volunteers

MEDIA RELEASE: Brand new, state-of-the-art facility opens for VICSES Knox Unit volunteers

07/12/2021, 3:21 PM

This week, the Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) Knox Unit celebrated the official opening of its $6 million facility, funded by the Victorian Government’s $125 million investment in VICSES capital works.

Operational since August, key features of the new facility include six motor bays, four vehicle storage bays and training facilities for new and continuing volunteers.

The design also incorporates solar panels, water tanks, native vegetation, and rain gardens to ensure the sustainability of the site for generations to come.

With 49 active members, volunteers from the VICSES Knox Unit are among the busiest in Victoria and have played a crucial role in keeping the community safe, responding to 1227 requests for assistance in the last financial year.

As Victoria’s largest road crash rescue provider in the state, VICSES volunteers from the unit also responded to over 50 road crash rescue incidents in the last financial year alone.  To undertake this life-critical role, these volunteer members are trained to national standards, capability assessed every three years and respond within benchmark timeframes.

The new fit-for-purpose facility is co-located with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) local headquarters and will enable an expansion of local services, while supporting the retention and recruitment of new volunteers.

The new site includes a Divisional Control Point, which coordinates emergency response activities with other emergency services agencies, and will enable the unit to continue to respond effectively and assist Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and fire services throughout the state. 

Funding for the new facility and other VICSES capital works ensures the state’s emergency services volunteers are equipped with the resources needed to support Victorian communities. These projects are delivered on behalf of the government by the Emergency Services Infrastructure Authority, part of the Community Safety Building Authority.

Present for the opening of the new facility were Jackson Taylor MP, State Member for Bayswater, who represented Jaclyn Symes MP; Minister for Emergency Services; Nick Wakeling MP, State Member for Ferntree Gully; Cr Susan Laukens, Mayor, Knox City Council; Cr Marcia Timmers-Leitch, Collier Ward Councillor, Knox City Council; Andrew Crisp, Emergency Management Commissioner; Stephen Griffin, VICSES Chief Executive Officer; Tim Wiebusch, VICSES Chief Officer Operations; Ray Jasper, Assistant Chief Officer, VICSES; and, Sonia Meloni, Program Director, Police and Emergency Services; representatives from the Community Safety Building Authority (CSBA); VICSES Knox Unit members; emergency service partners, along with VICSES volunteers from other local units.

Quotes attributable to VICSES Chief Officer, Operations, Tim Wiebusch:

"This facility, which sits in the heart of the community along the Burwood Highway, will provide a strategic and central platform from where we mount our operational response to any emergency. Its striking presence provides a constant reminder to the community that we are here, so they can feel safe and reassured in difficult times.”

“Our local volunteers are there, on the ground, for people when they need it most. Whether it’s flood rescue – or land searches, road rescues, clearing trees, or assisting other emergency service agencies in their important work.”

“Volunteers give up their own time to serve the local community, so they deserve modern fit for purpose facilities and equipment to continue their important work now and into the future and to be able to do it safely and effectively. Thank you for everything you do and a big thank you to your families and employers that enable you to do what you do.”