BALLARAT manufacturer SEM Fire and Rescue has developed a new high-tech fire truck targeting the private industry market.
Aimed at mining companies and private enterprises, the state-of-the-art concept vehicle has already been sold to BHP for use at its Groote Eylandt base near the Northern Territory.
SEM general manager Colin Baldock said the company, which supplies various emergency service vehicles to the public services, could no longer rely solely on government contracts if it wanted to stay competitive and grow jobs.
“It’s about controlling your own destiny,” he said.
“We can’t sit and hope the next government is going to increase their spending on fire trucks.”
Two years ago SEM lost key government contracts to a competitor and more than 100 Ballarat workers were left in limbo after a lock-out at the Trewin Street premises.
Mr Baldock said under new ownership, SEM was trying to achieve more continuity of production rather than rely on the CFA government spend alone. He said SEM’s technology partners Mercedes Benz, Akron and PT Hydraulics had brought their best technology to the project.
“It’s essentially the latest and greatest in firefighting technology,” he said.
The 3000-litre concept truck was developed for BHP’s requirements with another two trucks then ordered for an LNG plant in Papua New Guinea.
Ms Baldock said they would be developed as 5500-litre trucks suitable for going into extremely rugged terrain.
The BHP prototype will now be toured across Australia and showcased to state fire services and private enterprises. Mr Baddock said SEM was recently awarded a new CFA contract for 24 fire trucks.
Other current projects include developing a prototype vehicle for Ambulance Victoria and building a response van for the defence department.