MORE people across central Australia will learn important life-saving first aid skills thanks to the official opening of the new St John Volunteer and Training Centre in Alice Springs, which can now provide better services to its large volunteer network.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the new centre’s state-of-the-art training facilities will play a pivotal role in educating volunteers.

“The new centre will expand St John’s first aid training division, providing more courses to government employees, private businesses and the wider central Australian community,” Mr McCormack said.

“The community will really notice the benefits in times of natural disaster, when the centre will support emergency responses, disaster management and relief.”  

Country Liberals Senator for the Northern Territory Nigel Scullion said the new facility will serve the people of Alice Springs and Central Australia well into the future.

“The centre has three training halls and a conference room, along with kitchenette facilities on both levels and a staff kitchen on the first floor. It also has offices, storerooms, a reception area, and car spaces for 12 vehicles,” Senator Scullion said.

“The project has had a direct economic impact with 60 construction jobs and 10 ongoing jobs. We are delivering more jobs for Centralians and better community infrastructure to continue to make the Territory a great place to live.

“St John Ambulance has been part of the Alice Springs community for 50 years and this new centre will not only allow them to continue but expand to train more volunteers and provide more health care across Central Australia.”

St John Ambulance NT CEO Judith Barker said the new Alice Springs St John Volunteer and Training Centre would make a crucial difference to the lives of people across Central Australia.

“Thanks to the generosity of the Federal Government we are now able to provide an open, welcoming environment conducive to learning, interaction and involvement. This new, centrally located facility will provide state of the art training facilities for St John and an ability to increase the provision of first aid training that will benefit the entire community,” Ms Barker said.

“The new centre is a flagship for St John and its construction will allow us to develop and grow with the local environment and needs.

“St John volunteers are a fantastic team of people servicing the community and keeping people safe at public events. Continuing over 50 years of volunteer service to Central Australia and providing more than 2600 volunteer hours to the Alice Springs community every year, the new centre will enable us to expand our training package delivery while allowing our volunteers to continue their admirable work in professionally servicing over 900 public events a year, including local football and netball games and iconic events such as the Red Centre Nats, Tatt’s Finke Desert Race, the Camel Cup and the Henley on Todd Regatta.”

The project was jointly funded with the Liberal and Nationals’ Government investing $2,365,173 and St John Ambulance Australia (NT) Inc. $788,392.

Shane Manning