Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke turned the first sod of the new South West Slopes Zone Fire Control Centre on Monday, heralding the start of a new era for local NSW Rural Fire Service firefighters.
Ms Cooke was joined by NSW RFS Senior Assistant Commissioner Bruce McDonald to mark the start of construction of the new $6.3 million facility, which will host dedicated Operations and Planning rooms, multiple training rooms, an administrative area and dedicated storage facilities for support resources.
"This is a truly fantastic day for the Rural Fire Service and for the Harden community, as we will see a brand-new facility with the latest in technology for giving an overview of incidents in the South West Slopes Zone," Ms Cooke said.
"It will give our brave and dedicated firefighters even greater support during operations and this in turn means our communities will be better protected."
The new facility, situated near the Harden Racecourse, is expected to be completed in June 2020.
Senior Assistant Commissioner Bruce McDonald said NSW RFS volunteers are committed to helping their communities 24 hours a day, seven days a week and this new facility will assist them to carry out that important work.
"It is great to see this happening. This facility will be great for Harden as well as the surrounding areas." Senior Assistant Commissioner McDonald said.
"Thank you to Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke and the Hilltops Council for making it happen. I'm looking forward to seeing us all back here in June for the ribbon cutting."
In addition to NSW RFS operations, this facility will also be able to support other agencies and is expected to become a hub for local emergency services.
"Members of the South West Slopes Zone protect their community from grass fires as well as a diverse array of incidents, and they also provide support to other agencies," Ms Cooke said.
"In addition to responding to incidents and attending fires further afield, brigades regularly host members of our community on open days and this centre will make that an even more exciting opportunity for all of us."