New home for VICSES Port Fairy Unit volunteers

New home for VICSES Port Fairy Unit volunteers

09/10/2023, 9:00 AM

VICSES Port Fairy Unit volunteers and guests at the opening of the new facility last weekend 

A big congratulations to our VICSES Port Fairy Unit volunteers, following the official opening of their brand-new facility on Saturday at 116 Princes Highway in Port Fairy. 

This new, purpose-built facility reflects VICSES' dedication to the local community, providing a permanent home for the volunteers, helping more effective response to emergencies including the impacts of storm and flood events on the community. 

Having left its former base on Sackville Street in 2021, the Port Fairy Unit temporarily used the CFA Koroit and Toolong stations to house its operational equipment and fleet of vehicles. 

Established in 1980, the Port Fairy Unit currently has 26 members and has responded to more than 560 requests for assistance over the past five years, including significant flooding in 2020 and storm surge events in 2021 and 2022. 

VICSES Port Fairy Unit, Controller, Hannah Morris speaking at the opening of the new Port Fairy facility last weekend

VICSES Port Fairy Unit volunteers also responded to more than 30 Road Crash Rescue (RCR) incidents over the last five years. As Victoria's largest road crash rescue provider, VICSES trains its volunteer emergency responders to national standards to provide RCR coverage within benchmark timeframes.

Our VICSES volunteers undertake continuous training to undertake this life-critical role, with their unit capability assessed every three years.

The new facility has the capacity to accommodate up to 45 operational members with a three-bay motor room, office, communications room, training room, wellbeing and turnout rooms. It means volunteers can fit more vehicles in the motor bay, train members more easily, facilitate regional training and more importantly, encourage future members to join the service with the appeal of a brand-new facility.

The building incorporates environmentally sustainable design principles and is fitted with solar panels with battery storage, as well as a rainwater catchment and filtration system. 

The Victorian Government invested more than $4.6 million to build the facility, which is co-located with the local Country Fire Authority (CFA) Port Fairy Brigade. The project was delivered by the Community Safety Building Authority (CSBA), part of the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS). 

The new facility for VICSES Port Fairy Unit on Princes Highway.

Representing the Minister for Emergency Services at the official opening was Member for Western Victoria Jacinta Ermacora MP alongside:

  • Minister Gayle Tierney
  • VICSES Acting Chief Officer Operations, David Baker
  • VICSES Acting CEO Silvia Silverii
  • VICSES Assistant Chief Officer, Nicholas Cowham
  • VICSES Deputy Chief Officer Simon White
  • VICSES Port Fairy Unit Controller, Hannah Morris
  • Community Safety Building Authority, Program Director, Lachlan Kelsall
  • Moyne Shire Council Mayor, Karen Foster
  • Councilors Damian Gleeson and Jim Doukas
  • VICSES Port Fairy Unit volunteers 
  • VICSES volunteers from surrounding units and a range of VICSES staff
  • A number of representatives from our partner agencies

The Port Fairy Unit is opening their doors this Sunday, 15th October, to the community for a jointly held VICSES/CFA Open Day.  From 10:00am - 2:00pm, there will be a sausage sizzle and guided tours of the new facility, as well as a chance to meet and be photographed with Paddy the Platypus and Captain Koala.

Quotes attributable to VICSES Acting Chief Officer, Operations, David Baker:

“The delivery of this brand new state-of-the-art facility is a huge boost to the VICSES Port Fairy response area, which includes parts of Barwon South West region significantly affected by severe storms and flooding in the past 12 months.”

“VICSES Port Fairy Unit volunteers now have the fit-for-purpose facility they need and deserve, allowing them to carry out their pivotal role in keeping the community safe.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services, Jaclyn Symes: 

“We’re proud to open the new VICSES Port Fairy Unit and deliver a purpose-built facility that is nothing less than what local volunteers deserve.” 

“VICSES Port Fairy volunteers are now better equipped to continue their critical work in serving the community and I thank them for their ongoing contribution and dedication.”  

Quotes attributable to Member for Western Victoria, Jacinta Ermacora:

“VICSES volunteers play an incredibly important role in keeping Victorians safe, and this new facility represents the Victorian Government's commitment to supporting our valued emergency services.”