RFS Representatives, Minister Elliott and Steph Cooke stand in front of the bright red front of the fire control centre.

The NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) is better prepared for the upcoming fire season after the official opening of the new South West Slopes Fire Control Centre (FCC) located at Harden.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott joined Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke and Acting Deputy Commissioner Peter McKechnie to officially open the new $6.1 million purpose built Centre.

Mr Elliott said the new FCC was built to provide the South West Slopes District with a modern fit for purpose building to deal with complex and large emergency events.

“While the previous FCC has served the District well, I am confident this new state-of-the-art facility will prove itself to be an invaluable tool in managing fires in the South West Slopes and will be welcomed by the 30,000 residents who live within the District,” Mr Elliott said.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said it is crucial RFS volunteers have the best possible facilities. 

“The new facility has the technology, space and functionality for up to 50 people to work together to lead and support emergency events, increase the level of safety and keep the community informed,” Ms Cooke said.

“Our volunteers go above and beyond for their communities. I am so proud they have this facility to support their crucial work.”

Acting Deputy Commissioner, Peter McKechnie, said the new FCC was welcomed by the whole community as well as around 2700 volunteers within the NSW RFS Brigades in the South West Slopes.

“While the old council managed FCC is still functional as a basic administration facility, it is over 50 years old and lacks greatly as a modern emergency control facility,” A/Deputy Commissioner McKechnie said.

In a further boost to the region, Mr Elliott announced an additional 8 Mitigation roles, forming two crews in the Cowra region.

“These new roles, part of the recent $10.7 million state-wide investment in bushfire preparedness and regional jobs, will support volunteers and fast-track hazard reduction in areas that need it most,” Mr Elliott said.