RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers stands next to Steph Cooke MP who learns on a shovel with its tip in the dirt. Cr Bill West is beside her and all three smile at the camera.
RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers, Steph Cooke MP and Cr Bill West

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has joined representatives from the Rural Fire Service and Cowra Shire Council to turn the first sod on the new Area Western Command Facility.

Ms Cooke joined Commissioner Rob Rogers AFSM and Mayor of Cowra Shire Council Councillor Bill West to break ground on the $2.6 million facility.

Area Western covers 67% of New South Wales and is home to 449 brigades.

The new command facility will be a multipurpose centre with an Area Command Office, Area Warehouse, a new Waugoola Brigade station and a level 2 Air Base.

Ms Cooke said she was pleased the region’s firefighters would soon have this new asset.

“Our firefighters deserve to have state of the art infrastructure that helps them do their jobs and keep our communities safe,” Ms Cooke said.

“This new command facility will be a space where firefighters can rest, equipment can be stored and above all emergencies can be responded to.”

“This is a huge boost not only for the Cowra community but for the entire Central West with work being undertaken by builders from the region and these new resources servicing communities from Wilcannia to Brewarrina, Lithgow to Harden.”

RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers said the new facility would bolster firefighting operations across western NSW.

“There’s going to be 20 jobs here, there will be a direct flow on effect for the local economy and for us, from a firefighting point of view, it’s really important to have additional positions in the west of NSW,” Commissioner Rogers said.

“Dubbo and Cowra will become the hubs for us in Western NSW, we’ve got our academy in Dubbo and Cowra will be the Area Command.”

“This site will be co-located at the airport to help with our air operations. This is a win for Cowra and a win for the RFS.”

Cowra Shire Council Mayor Bill West said the Area Western Command Facility would have ongoing benefits for the local economy.

“This is tremendous to see this come to fruition and to have these facilities in Cowra,” Cr West said.

“20 plus jobs is going to be a tremendous boost to the regional economy and this facility will help the region to grow.”