THE first sod has been turned for the new $7.5million Mackay Fire and Rescue Station in Alfred St.
The fire station replacement project is funded under the Significant Regional Infrastructure Projects Program through the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning.
Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert and Mirani MP Jim Pearce represented Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services Mark Ryan at the sod-turning ceremony last week.
Ms Gilbert said the new station would better meet Queensland Fire and Emergency Services' operational needs into the future.
"This significant investment in infrastructure by the Queensland Government shows a commitment to the safety of the people of Mackay,” Ms Gilbert said.
"The existing station at the corner of Sydney and Alfred streets has served the area well since 1976, but is being outgrown by firefighting crews and the growing needs of the community,” Ms Gilbert said.
"The new site on Alfred St is away from the busy centre of town, giving firefighters better access and more room for training and equipment storage.”
Mr Pearce said it would be a boost for job seekers in the local area.
"During the construction phase, this project will generate local employment and skill development opportunities, employing apprentices and tradespeople from surrounding communities under the Queensland Government Building and Construction Training Policy,” Mr Pearce said.
QFES Assistant Commissioner Ewan Cayzer said the new fire station would accommodate current service delivery requirements and allow for the future growth of the Fire and Rescue Service in Mackay.
"The facility will be a base for Mackay City's 50 permanent firefighters and will also house a safety equipment workshop and regional development office,” Mr Cayzer said.
"From this modern facility, QFES can continue to deliver the high standard of fire and emergency services the community has come to expect.”
Tender for the new station was awarded to Woollam Constructions on June 23 by Seaforth Civil, with practical completion of the project expected mid-2018.
The Department of Housing and Public Works has been engaged to manage the construction stage of the project on behalf of the Public Safety Business Agency and QFES.