SES Volunteers Association of Western Australia (Incorporated)

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15/11/2012 – No SES Representation on the Inter-agency Working Group for the Consolidated Act

THE SES VOLUNTEERS ARE VERY DISSAPOINTED THAT THEY HAVE ONCE AGAIN BEEN LEFT OUT OF THE CONSULTATIVE PROCESS!

Recommendation number 2 of the 2011 Perth Hills Bushfire Review stated  “Emergency Management Western Australia establish an inter-agency working group to continue the development of the new single emergency services Act.”

The 2000 State Emergency Service Volunteers are not represented on the Inter-agency Working Group (IWG) looking into a consolidated act covering all emergency services.  There is in total over 32 000 Volunteers involved in the emergency services and the IWG must have a representative Volunteer from each service on the working group.

Apparently an Inter-agency Working Group has been formed consisting of;

  • the Department of Fire and Emergency Services – 3 representatives,
  • the Department of Environment and Conservation,
  • RiskCover,
  • WA Police,
  • the WA Local Government Association (WALGA) and
  • a volunteer representative (Roger Martin from VMR)

Two Working Group meetings have been held, with further meetings to be held on an on-going basis and subject to demand.  In the DFES (then FESA) progress report on the 2011 Perth Hills Bushfires they said they have established a separate internal project to progress the consolidation of the Emergency Services Act.

They go on to say that the IWG will provide input into the Legislation and Departmental Structure Working Group of the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC), however in an email dated 13 Nov from DFES it was stated that “the IWG provides strategic oversight of the review process and will not be involved developing the content of the new act”.

The question now is “Who is developing the act and where do the Volunteer Services sit in relation to being part of the decision making process”.
Concerns were also raised during the presentations at the November DFES conference that greater emphasis will be placed on the development of the associated regulations by DFES, which can easily be changed by the parent agency and DFES Commissioner, to suit their requirements.  In the past the Volunteers were protected by legislation, however a set of regulations can be changed at the whim of the parent agency – DFES and its Commissioner.

Volunteers need to be aware of the dangers of no consultation on all matters that affect them.
 

Please provide feedback on what you, as an SES Volunteer, feel about this to  sescomment@gmail.com

(Written by some concerned SES Volunteers)

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