New admin building set to boost region’s disaster resilience
THE new Whitsunday Regional Council administration building in Proserpine was unveiled today with state-of-the-art facilities set to strengthen the region's emergency response.
The $11.9 million facility includes a fully-equipped disaster co-ordination centre and innovation hub, replacing the former admin building that was irreparably damaged by Cyclone Debbie.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk helped open the building today, saying the new centre is critical as the region moves into cyclone season.
"As we know, Cyclone Debbie caused a lot of damage, but a lot of that damage happened right here in the heart of Proserpine," she said.
"I can remember coming here and meeting with the families impacted by it.
"Can I say how important it is to have a start-of-the-art facility like this to deal with natural disasters.
"We didn't have much of a cyclone season last year, thank goodness, but all of the evidence and the modelling is telling us that we will actually have more cyclones this season, so we need to be ready and we need to be prepared."
The building features an open plan space that can be quickly transformed into an emergency response centre designed for use by the council and emergency services.
Mayor Andrew Willcox said the Climate Change Innovation Hub, which is also part of the new building, would help with disaster resilience.
"The innovation hub provides a unique opportunity to connect the researchers, stakeholders, council and the community with the latest research in improving resilience to increasing climate change hazards, such as storm search," he said.
The council customer service centre will be open to the public from September 28 and council staff will transition over to the building progressively.
Funding from the project came from all three levels of government with a $3.6 million commitment from the Federal Government's Building Better Regions Fund, $3,587,000 from Whitsunday Regional Council and $5 million from the Queensland Government.
Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said the project was a long time coming and welcomed the jobs it created.
The construction of the centre created 57 jobs as well as an expected 45 ongoing jobs.
"This project has also provided local jobs during and after construction and that's what a recovering regional community like Proserpine needs most," Mr Christensen said.