Minister gets on board for one of Ballina's big projects
STATE Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant was on the Northern Rivers yesterday for "a multi-faceted visit" to the region.
A highlight of Mr Grant's tour was officially opening the Ballina Marine Rescue tower.
Since the new building became operational in October, Marine Rescue volunteers have attended 14 vessel rescues and received 3716 radio calls.
The minister acknowledg- ed one of the next priorities for the area was rebuilding Ballina's ageing SES headquarters, estimated by mayor David Wright to cost more than a million dollars.
Under the State Emergency Services Act, Mr Grant said the responsibility for the new building was with Ballina Shire Council.
"It's an issue I am working...to try to rectify and find ways to assist them out of the long-held traditional arrangements," Mr Grant said.
Mr Grant said he would review changes to the Act to shift the building responsibility away from local government.
"I'd like to get (the SES) synergised...so SES volunteers don't have to put up with inadequate resources," he said.
Cr Wright said he was happy the minister was receptive to the council's concerns about the declining state of the building.
The minister also met with recovery co-ordinator Euan Ferguson about the on-going recovery phase.
"It's important to follow up and keep the work going and overcoming the obstacles with the recovery effort," he said.