The State Emergency Service Volunteers Association conducted the first workshop regarding the proposed single emergency service legislation for SES volunteers last night, Thursday 31 January 2013.
The change of existing emergency service legislation acts is part of the evolving changes since the formation of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) in November 2012.
It is proposed that existing acts be combined. The acts under scrutiny are:
- Bushfires Act of 1954;
- Fire and Rescue Act of 1942;
- Fire and Emergency Services Act (1998), (previously known as the Fire and Emergency Services Authority Act (1998).
Legislation that covers the State Emergency Service volunteers is currently built within the scope of the Fire and Emergency Services Act (1998).
Discussion involved understanding the current situation and potential future models.
Volunteers expressed concerns of regarding potential loss of autonomy in their roles of serving their communities.
Volunteers raised their dissapointment about the increasing involvement of Fire & Rescue in all emergency services operations, and the marginalising of SES Volunteers during these operations.
The Volunteers had a strong view on the retention of the SES as a distinct service and part of the National SES Brand
It was also expressed that this would be a great opportunity for the government to increase volunteer job protection.
DFES has now planned to provide information to stake holders and will be gathering information and stakeholder feedback which will be fed back to the Interagency Working Group (IWG).
The Interagency Working Group has only one emergency services volunteer to represent the 32,000 volunteers, whilst government agencies have proportionally higher representation.
This remains an unresolved expectation of the State Emergency Service Volunteers Association, believing that there should be at least one volunteer representative from each of the volunteer emergency services.
A more specific feedback by the Association will be will posted on this site next week
Phillip Petersen ESM
SESVA Representative (SE Metro Region)
Presenter Gordon Hall
SESVA President addresses the group
Attendees at the information night