Plans to turn Tafe building into command centre

MARYBOROUGH'S unused Tafe building could be transformed into a command centre for the region's emergency services, worth millions of dollars.

Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders has been pushing the project with State Government ministers and department director generals.

The buildings have been empty for almost a year, after Tafe closed the facility in December.

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The closure and resultant job losses came following an admission that 80% of Tafe buildings across the region were not being fully used.

Mr Saunders said the buildings would be put to good use with police, rural and urban fire crews and specialty personnel to be based there.

"We're turning it into an emergency services hub," he said.

"We become the focus point for emergency services in the Wide Bay region from Bundaberg down to Maroochydore."

The Wide Bay Emergency Services Hub will be used for the region's management and executives as well as for training and storage space.

"It will get the police command out of Kent St and under one roof," Mr Saunders said.

"(It's) a one-stop-shop for emergency services.

"It's a win-win for Maryborough."

During times of natural disaster the central post would improve response times and provide "better communication".

An upgrade to Howard's police and ambulance stations are also in Mr Saunders's future plans.

A new auxiliary and rural fire station would also make Howard a smaller emergency hub.

"It's a mini-one for the Burrum District," he said

He said the State Government's departments were discussing the plans and meetings had been had between several ministers.

"I haven't got the dollar value but it's substantial," he said.

"This is what we want to do for the future growth of the Burrum District.

"(It's) tens of millions of dollars for Maryborough and several million for Howard hub."