The proposed construction of a new $4.995 million Gawler South Australian State Emergency Service (SASES) Unit is leaping its final hurdle after being presented to the Public Works Committee today.

The project was part of the Malinauskas Labor Government’s election commitment after years of lobbying from State Member for Light Tony Piccolo MP and fellow SASES members.

“I had been working with former Salisbury SASES member John Lawrence and his colleagues to explore the feasibility of opening a satellite unit in Gawler that would be managed by their crew,” Mr Piccolo said.

“Gawler, Barossa, Playford and the Adelaide Plains has since become major growth regions of the state, with population expected to double in 20 years through new developments including Roseworthy and Concordia, causing this project to grow with it.

“While the Kapunda and Salisbury SES crews do a fantastic job, the demand across all these areas is now far greater and this new facility and standalone unit will ensure there are no gaps in safety within our community and enable us to recruit more volunteers.”

During a 2016/17 review by SASES, the Gawler/Willaston area was identified as the highest priority area for short to medium term action due to rapid residential growth, regular flooding of the Gawler and South Para regions and poor coverage as Kapunda and Salisbury are the nearest units.

The new facility on Two Wells Road, Willaston, would be situated approximately halfway between the Kapunda and Salisbury units and feature two-bay vehicle storage, purpose-built operations administration building, training facilities, sand bagging area and an emergency service staging area.

Designs are finalised and construction on the 18,000 square metre site (approx.) would commence in August this year, with SASES Building Projects Officer James Buccella expecting the unit to be responding to calls by mid-2025.

“Over the last 10 years, Salisbury SES alone have responded to 7,065 requests for assistance, and that makes them our busiest SES unit in the state,” Mr Buccella said.

“The Salisbury unit also has the largest response area as well of all of our units.”

“Establishing this Gawler SES will help alleviate the pressure on the Kapunda and the Salisbury unit in particular, and it will enhance and extend our coverage in the area and provide primary response to regular flooding of the two rivers.