EMERALD'S new $4 million Queensland Fire and Rescue Service station has been purpose built to recognise the town's growth and status as the hub of the Central Highlands.
QFRS Assistant Commissioner Iain MacKenzie hinted at the official opening on Saturday of a future where the facility was manned by permanent crew.
"At some stage in the future we look forward to announcing this as something more than the auxiliary station it is today," Asst Comm MacKenzie said.
"It is the centre of the area and it does look after seven stations."
State Member for Gregory Vaughan Johnson paid tribute to the foresight of the former Labor government in funding the move from Egerton St to the burgeoning, largely flood-free southside.
The veteran MP put himself in the firing line when he defied the State Government recently and stuck up for volunteer rural firefighters and their network of paid support staff whose jobs were under threat.
"I put my neck on the chopping block when I spoke out about the rural firies in relation to some of the cuts that were happening," Mr Johnson said.
"I know I got myself into a bit of strife, but at the end of the day it's about representing people and representing groups of people who do good work.
"And that's the frontline services - that's you the firies, the police and the QAS.
"I want to pay tribute to the former Labor government who saw fit to see this new facility built here in Emerald."
Mr Johnson acknowledged the controversy surrounding the present location on the Gregory Hwy.
"But as we know, Emerald is spreading and exploding and it's going to go over this way and not back over the floodplain," he said.
"Progress happens and this is about progress."
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