The Kangaroo Ground fire-spotting tower will continue to play a frontline role in protecting Melbournes northern suburbs from bushfire after the opening of a $294,000 refurbishment today.
The tower plays a pivotal role in protecting communities on Melbournes northern outskirts, Parliamentary Secretary for Police and Emergency Services Danielle Green said.
The tower, built in 1926 to honour Eltham soldiers who fell in the Great War, is vital to our past and our future, Ms Green said.
The future has arrived for the Kangaroo Ground War Memorial Tower. With this upgrade, the tower will continue to help protect residents of Melbournes north from the ever-present threat of bushfire for decades to come.
The new air-conditioned fire-spotting cabin has both floor and roof access with a harness point.
Windows have been fitted at 13 degrees to the vertical, to prevent reflection, and a new VHF Radio Repeater has been installed on the cabin to boost radio communications in the area.
Operators in the Kangaroo Ground Fire Tower spot about 50 blazes each summer, and relay vital information to ground crews.
Fire spotters working in the tower provide early and ongoing information on fires in the mountain ranges to the north-east and east of Melbourne, including the Kinglake Ranges, Great Dividing Range, and Mt Dandenong. The tower also provides coverage across municipalities, including Nillumbik, Manningham, Banyule, Maroondah, and parts of Yarra Ranges, Knox, Murrindindi, and Whittlesea.
Ms Green said the Brumby Labor Government was committed to supporting Victorias emergency services.
The Brumby Labor Government values the important work Victorias emergency services do throughout the year and is committed to ensuring they have the necessary resources to carry out this important work, she said.
In recognition of the work they do and to boost preparation for the fire season, our Government has invested in a record emergency services budget this year plus $986 million towards fire fighting and reconstruction efforts.
Ms Green said the State Government had also doubled the amount of money available for Community Safety Emergency Support Program grants to $6.8 million in 2010/1, giving volunteer emergency services groups access to vital equipment and upgrades.
Through good planning and vigilance, the recent fire season passed without major incident, but there is no time to be complacent and we are already working towards improving our bushfire defences for next year, she said.