$80m Emergency Services HQ handles the heat in response to bushfires and floods

Thursday 27 January, 2022

SA’s bolstered response capability for weather-related disasters has been on full display in recent days with the state’s best emergency services minds working together at their new $80 million purpose-built headquarters to protect the community from bushfires and extreme floods.

Today, Premier Steven Marshall and Emergency Services Minister Vincent Tarzia toured the site and met with staff and volunteers who have been busy responding to bushfires in the state’s South East, at Coles, another in Mt Gambier, and wild flooding that impacted major rural roads in the regions.

“Future-proofing South Australia’s capability to respond to emergencies is crucial to protecting our community,” the Premier said.

“We saw a huge gap in the state’s ability to respond to bushfires and other natural disasters because the senior leadership teams of our emergency services were not – and until now had never been –working together under one roof.

“We are proud to deliver this nation-leading state-of-the-art facility, which has already stood up to the test multiple times as the epicentre of South Australia’s response to emergencies.

“There is no better emergency services hub in the country, but we know it wouldn’t be worth a thing without the incredible staff and volunteers who dedicate themselves to safeguarding our community.”

Minster Tarzia said the new headquarters – at World Park Precinct in Keswick – was home to more than 300 people from the CFS, MFS, SES and SAFECOM.

“This facility is earthquake resistant and features a self-sufficient power source to ensure it’s ready to respond at a second’s notice without the risk of going offline during an emergency,” Minister Tarzia said.

“Staff and volunteers can continue their crucial work up to 48 hours in isolation, even during times where major infrastructure may fail, and still have access to high-grade technology to keep communication across the state flowing.

“This facility is a huge win for South Australians and those who serve the community in the emergency services sector.

“And further to that, our local economy got a boost during the construction phase of the project with 250 jobs supported by the build.”

SAFECOM Chief Executive Julia Waddington-Powell said the headquarters spans over 5,500 square metres and houses five heavy tankers and a bulk carrier on standby for operational deployment.

“The emergency services sector is excited to have this state-of-the-art headquarters up and running in what is an historic step forward for the coordination of emergencies in our state,” Ms Waddington-Powell said.

“The headquarters can also double as the new State Control Centre if needed.”

The build was a partnership with developers Axiom, Pike Constructions and the Department for Infrastructure and Transport.