Dargo DEPI facilities open

THE new $3.3 million Department of Environment and Primary Industries office and redeveloped depot in Dargo was offically opened on Thursday.

The office manages a suite of DEPI and Parks Victoria programs across 150,000 hectares of public land is equipped to operate as a Level 2 Incident Control Centre for fire and emergency management All of the department’s forest, fire and roading programs for this area are managed from Dargo and provides emergency protection to local and surrounding communities.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment Brad Battin officially opened the facility, which he said would significantly strengthen incident management capabilities in the future.

“For many years this office has been the management hub for large-scale fires in the region and this new facility will make the job for our emergency personnel so much easier,” Mr Battin said.

“It’s an asset not just for Dargo, but for the Gippsland region and for regional Victoria as a whole.”

The new office caters for four DEPI and two Parks Victoria staff during normal operations, and is pre-wired and configured to be quickly converted to accommodate up to 30 fire and emergency staff from multiple agencies during a Level 2 Incident.

The new site has facilities to manage fire incidents and other emergencies and accommodate a mixture of office and field staff.

Environmentally sustainable design principles have been integrated into the design of the building and the layout is designed to allow office and depot functions that work efficiently but still provide the separation that improves the safety of each function.

There are flexible meeting spaces to accommodate large temporary groups during environmental emergencies, and an on site generator provides power back-up during emergencies.

There are also improved radio communications for incident control in emergency management.

Passive design, energy conservat ion, water efficiency and selection of durable, low volatile  organic compound and non-toxic materials and efficient heating and cooling are other features.

“This is a vast improvement on the old office, which was in very poor structural condition and had limited space for effective operation,” Mr Battin said.

The latest technology and extensive cabling for phone, computer and radio communications means staff from any of the emergency management agencies are able to walk into the building and start working immediately.

This is critical for largescale incidents, when staff operate in shifts covering 24 hours a day.