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The remote Indigenous community of Maningrida, situated on the shore of the Arafura Sea in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, were the pleased recipients of a new fire truck recently.
The fire truck, acquired with funding from the Australian Government’s Indigenous Remote Service Delivery account, was officially commissioned at a recent community ceremony and is now in the service of the volunteer Maningrida Emergency Response Group (MERG).
The community, which is particularly vulnerable to dry season forest fires, will use the fire truck to respond to house fires and lessen the risk grass fires pose to life and property in Maningrida and surrounding outstations.
A member of MERG, James Woods, said that the fire truck is a great asset for the community. 'Come the next dry season, we’ll be ready to fight fires but before then all the volunteers need to get truck licences and attend courses on fire fighting,' he said. James works for the Northern Territory Department of Correctional Services, as well as part-time for Norforce, but volunteered to join MERG to protect his community. He says that everyone should make time to volunteer to help others. 'I encourage other Indigenous people to join their local emergency services branch. It’s great fun, you make friends and you have the satisfaction of keeping your community and family safe.'
West Arnhem Regional Council managed the grant, and helped arrange the transportation of the vehicle to Maningrida. Five organisations provided up to $2,000 of cash or in-kind support to ensure the ongoing maintenance of the vehicle, including West Arnhem Shire, Maningrida Progress Association, Malabam Health Board, MERG and the Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation.