Victorian State Emergency Service Cobram unit
My item for the adjournment debate this afternoon is for the Minister for Emergency Services, and the action I am seeking from the minister is that he meet with members of the Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) Cobram unit to listen to them in relation to their desperate need for a new SES station.
Just last week or the week before I had the pleasure, with local Nationals member Tim McCurdy in the Assembly, of attending the local Cobram SES station. The problem with the Cobram SES station is that it is not actually in Cobram. The local brigade have to house their equipment over in Tocumwal in New South Wales, which is obviously across the river, because they do not have the proper facilities within Cobram itself to handle the equipment they have got.
What they do on occasions, when they know there is a storm or something coming up, is actually take the SES truck across and put it in one of the volunteers sheds in case it is needed more quickly. Otherwise, when there is an incident, they actually have to go across the river to Tocumwal, get their equipment and then head back into Victoria to address the issue they need to address. But from Cobram to Tocumwal it is not just straight across the river; it is about a 20-minute drive to get from Cobram across to Tocumwal. So it is not an ideal situation. If there is a flood in the Murray River, it actually blocks access between Tocumwal and Cobram, so that means that they are unable to get their equipment out of the SES station.
Cobram is a large regional community. During the summer months, being up on the Murray River, it has an influx of visitors, tourists and so forth. So at that time there is a much larger number of people in that area. In terms of road rescues and so forth, it is imperative that they have their own SES station actually based in Cobram. So I think it is absolutely worthwhile that the Minister for Emergency Services comes up to Cobram, meets with me, Tim McCurdy and also John Stava, the Cobram SES unit controller, to discuss the need for a new Cobram SES station actually based in Cobram.