President Report August 2021
A month closer to warmer weather, July has past, and I think most of us would agree, it’s been wet and operationally busy again (Respect to the North of the State and envy because you have been relatively warm). Across our large state, the Department and our communities are grateful for the SES Volunteers that choose to be part of the solution and are indeed delivering services that our communities have become reliant on.
The appreciation is being demonstrated through the correspondence that has been received from our elected leaders in the West and beyond. One thing that is true within us is that success is the sum of all our efforts no matter what role you play, it is a greater team effort to allow us all to serve within and beyond our local communities. We also only need to watch our news services to see the images and reports on our response activities.
I know we all acknowledge that this response is only a small percentage of the time that the volunteer dedicates. What of the time involved in the training and administration that is necessary to enable the response?
The past month has been extremely demanding on most of us and I ask you all to look amongst ourselves to support, recognise and compliment the ongoing dedication of your fellow volunteers. No matter what the service, no matter what the role we choose, no matter how much time we can provide, we are all contributing to the overall effort in maintaining community safety. Volunteers are the backbone, with the assistance of paid staff, in supporting our communities. Be considerate of our Natural Hazards paid staff and recognise there are roughly 140 SES volunteers to each staff member. Be patient as we are all stretched and from an SES perspective, there are so little dedicated resources in the Department to address the communities need. Times will change in the future; the Department is relatively new and is developing those from a dominated Fire Service background.
The Association is again stepping up its mandate to be in contact with units and being your advocate, but my thanks go to you for allowing our change of direction in the past 18 months. We will keep asking questions so the responses that DFES receive are your collective view, not that of only a few.
Take care one and all,
Your SES Unit will select members to attend this years WAFES conference on the 10 &11 Sept at Burswood in Perth. Your Association has been active in asking you for suggestions for a proposed SES stream what do you want to hear and see? From your feedback, this is what we have suggested to DFES Media to support our needs:
- Results and actions leading on from the Duxton Forum. Are things being dealt with or not?
- Legislation – the new Emergency Services Act and Regulations. What are we being told if anything?
- SES Training and Career Development – what are and where are the holdups?
- Working at Heights and WHS in the future – don’t leave us hanging!
- Working as an SES volunteer in other States – What are the SES Organisations across Australia doing and how does this compare with our standards in the West?
- Local Government Grants Scheme and Emergency Services Levy – The Local Unit experiences. The good, the bad, and the support from DFES to get local government to apply this to the SES correctly. How many different ways do local government administer our SES Funding?