7 June 2024

Two emergency services' stations back online following weather damage, contamination issues

| Claire Fenwicke
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City Police Station building

Construction fencing has been taken down as officers prepare to move back to the City Police Station. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

Both the Gungahlin Joint Emergency Services Centre (JESC) and City Police Station will be fully operational from next week following extensive remediation work.

The JESC had been unoccupied since February after lead dust and diesel particulates were discovered during the building’s refurbishment.

Urgent work also had to be carried out at the City Police Station due to water damage.

The evacuation of the JESC was taken advantage of, with other remediation works carried out as part of a refurbishment to increase ACT Policing’s operational footprint.

ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) Commissioner Wayne Phillips said these improvements had created a safer and more sustainable workplace.

“The reassurance to staff and volunteers is always front and centre. I’m confident this has been achieved,” he said.

“At the same time, emergency personnel have maintained a presence in the Gungahlin area, keeping Canberrans safe. It’s great they can now return to their revamped centre.”

The JESC improvements had been scheduled for completion by October but will be completely operational by next Thursday (13 June).

The works cost about $3.5 million.

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The centre is currently home to ACT Policing, ACT Fire & Rescue, ACT Rural Fire Service, ACT Ambulance Service and ACT State Emergency Service crews.

Some won’t be there for very long, though, with the ACT RFS and SES moving to a new site in Mitchell, which is currently under construction.

“The good news is that before Christmas this year, we’ll have our new volunteer emergency services centre in Mitchell, with RFS and the SES co-located there,” Commissioner Phillips said.

“By the [upcoming] severe weather season, we’ll have our fire, ambulance and RFS services all set up, ready to protect Canberrans.”

The government is also exploring options for a new ambulance and F&R site in Casey, with more expected to be revealed in the coming weeks.

“There’ll be a new station in the not-too-distant future in Gungahlin that will cover Fire and Rescue and our ambulance service, allowing the police service to take over the whole of this JESC,” Police, Crime Prevention and Fire and Emergency Services Minister Mick Gentleman said.

“It will involve some more investment to tailor [the JESC] for ACT Police, but it will assist them in their future accommodation needs.”

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ACT Policing members are also expected to be fully moved into the City Police Station by next week.

Upgrades included new ceiling tiles and flooring to the water-impacted areas – including the conference room, general duties office, armoury and sergeant’s office – along with 47 modern workstations and enhanced technical capabilities.

“We had to do some very detailed hydraulic work to ensure that we can make it safe for our first responders at City Police Station, and at the same time take the opportunity to refurbish inside,” Mr Gentleman said.

The total cost is around $1.5 million.

There’s still no word on when the AFP’s Exhibition Management Centre in Mitchell will re-open after damage to a water main.

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Gregg Heldon9:10 am 09 Jun 24

This situation should never have happened in the first place.

In February this year, the Riotact reported that ‘Chief Police Officer Neil Gaughan has been sounding the alarm about the condition of the City Police Station for years.’ Finally the ACT Government did something after the police had to vacate the building. Another area that needs to be addressed is police numbers. The Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services (ROGS) 2023, showed that the ACT has the lowest number of operational policing members out of all Australian jurisdictions. What assurance can the ACT Government provide that it has the right number of police, both in terms of community safety and the welfare of police?

Gregg Heldon9:09 am 09 Jun 24

They can’t and they won’t because they are anti police.

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