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Firefighting championships a boon for Port Macquarie, Nowra team shines at competition

Published: 9th November 2009

The awarding of the prestigious 2011 Australasian Firefighter Championships to Port Macquarie was a coup for regional NSW, Emergency Services and Small Business and Rural Affairs Minister Steve Whan said today.

Mr Whan said the NSW Fire Brigades was selected to stage the next competition in Port Macquarie following this year's event in Rotorua, New Zealand, last weekend.

"At least 500 competitors, support personnel and family members from around Australia and New Zealand are expected to attend the biennial competition in October 2011," he said.

"To be chosen as the host of this regional competition is a coup for regional NSW and will provide a welcome boost for the Port Macquarie economy and tourism industry.

"Port Macquarie is known for its hospitality to visitors, so I'm sure the competitors will feel welcome while they're in town competing and taking in the sights.

"This is great news for the district’s accommodation and hospitality industries, along with tourism operators."

Mr Whan said the host was chosen by the Australasian Championships Committee, which has two voting members from each State and Territory.

"The NSW Fire Brigades' submission to host the event highlighted the quality of accommodation, transport infrastructure, competition facilities, and community and local government support," he said.

"The Championships will also be a great chance for our firefighters to showcase their skills to the community. I’m sure the Port Macquarie Fire Brigade will be proud to be hosting the event in their home town."

Mr Whan congratulated NSWFB firefighters from Nowra who came second in this year's championships in New Zealand last month.

NSWFB firefighters from Dorrigo, Glen Innes, Kelso and Coffs Harbour and Rural Fire Service (RFS) firefighters from Kootingal all placed in the top 20 of the prestigious competition.

The six teams of NSW firefighters were among 30 that competed in 10 firefighting-related events designed to test their speed, skills and teamwork.

"NSW firefighters are highly regarded internationally and their skills and dedication were on display over the weekend. They did us proud," Mr Whan said.

NSWFB Commissioner Greg Mullins said the NSW teams had put a great deal of time and effort into preparing for the Championships.

"Our firefighters worked for many months to prepare for the Championships weekend, which attracted hundreds of firefighters from across Australasia," Commissioner Mullins said.

"The event provided our firefighters with the opportunity to develop, maintain and enhance their operational skills and demonstrate to the community their skills, knowledge and expertise."

RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said competitions such as this allowed NSW firefighters to demonstrate their exceptional skills to the international community.

"We are fortunate in NSW to have two highly skilled and professional fire services taking part in this competition. I am very proud of the volunteers who represented the RFS," Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.