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Australia : New $3.8 million DEPI hub opens in Beaufort.

Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh today officially opened the Department of Environment and Primary Industries' new firefighting and forest management base in Beaufort.

The $3.8 million purpose-built complex will house 10 permanent DEPI staff, with capacity to double staff numbers and operate 24 hours a day during periods of emergency response.

Mr Walsh said the investment demonstrated the Victorian Coalition Government's commitment to building stronger and more resilient regional communities.

"While the major focus of this base will be on responding to fire and flood emergencies, it is also well placed to deal with the recovery of agriculture following such events and to respond to animal and plant disease," Mr Walsh said.

"A range of non-emergency operations will also be carried out by staff at the new location, including planned burning, state forest management and maintenance of recreation areas.

"This includes the delivery of the Good Neighbour Program, which targets weed and pest animal control on public land."

Nationals Candidate for Ripon Scott Turner said the new site brought together staff from the previously separate DEPI office and depot.

"Not only will a centralised unit provide a better work environment and more effective use of resources for staff, it will benefit emergency response and recovery, as well as routine DEPI operations," Mr Turner said.

Liberals Candidate for Ripon Louise Staley said DEPI worked in partnership with the Pyrenees Council and the Beaufort community was consulted about the choice of location and preferred site.

"It is important to involve the local community when undertaking these kinds of projects and it is pleasing to see this great result today," Ms Staley said.

"The new DEPI complex has been delivered on schedule, well ahead of the fire season."

Local company AW Nicholson Construction managed the construction project.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Oct 4, 2014
Words:310
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