02 November 2022

Heathcote’s VICSES and CFA facilities will be rebuilt after the effects of recent flooding, to ensure the hardworking volunteers who have kept their community safe can have an appropriate home base and attract more volunteers.

Minister for Emergency Services Jaclyn Symes visited the Heathcote CFA today to announce the Government will invest up to $15 million to rebuild the units.

Consideration of what the units will look like and where they will be located will be worked through in partnership with the VICSES unit, the CFA brigade and the community.

It’s expected the new facilities will meet the growing demands of the Heathcote community, with enough room for the current units and to help attract more volunteers.

Female-friendly change rooms and showers will be a priority, along with training and operations rooms, space for current and future vehicles, administration offices and areas for volunteers to meet and unwind.

Since the beginning of the flood event on October 12, VICSES has received more than 10,000 Requests for Assistance. Heathcote has averaged 161 requests for assistance (RFA) annually over the last five years, but have far outstripped that this year already with 213 RFA’s. The unit has 24 active members.

Heathcote CFA services a large area with significant risk which includes the McIvor Ranges and Heathcote-Graytown National Park. Heathcote also has capacity to be an incident control centre, supporting Bendigo, Seymour, Kilmore, Shepparton and Kyneton as well as the Heathcote township.

The Government has previously allocated more than $8 million to rebuild the Rochester CFA and VICSES units after extensive flood damage.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services Jaclyn Symes

Heathcote’s VICSES unit and CFA brigade will get new homes so they can continue to serve their community.”

”The Government will work with the local organisations to ensure the best result is delivered for Heathcote.”