SES Volunteer's Association of Western Australia Incorporated

One Association - Many Values



SES Volunteers Association of Western Australia Volunteering WA proudly supports International Volunteer Day (IVD) on 5 December 2023, to raise awareness of the important role volunteers play in responding to challenges facing Western Australia, Australia and the world.

International Volunteer Day commonly known as IVD is celebrated on 5 December every year. It started as an international observance mandated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1985. It’s a day where volunteers are acknowledged and the spirit of volunteerism is promoted at the local, national and international levels.

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme joins IVD celebrations with UN Volunteers and all volunteers around the world – amplifying the importance of people-led solutions to our common challenges. Read about the history of International Volunteer Day.

International Volunteer Day (IVD) is celebrated every year on 5 December to celebrate the spirit of volunteerism and recognize the contribution of volunteers worldwide in peace and development, and their contribution to accelerate SDGs at local, national, and international levels.

This year’s theme – “If Everyone Did…” centres on ‘everyone’ and focuses on collective action to work towards Sustainable Development Goals. There is a sense of urgency to respond to global development challenges ranging from climate action to natural disasters, reducing inequalities, hunger to health, and rising poverty to endangered natural resources – all requiring collective action. There is no better call to action than asking everyone to do something to make positive change.

Volunteering in Western Australia

With over 523,000 volunteers in Western Australia many of which are involved in Emergency Services, International Volunteer Day is a day for mass celebration. Volunteer-involving organisations celebrate the contributions of thousands of volunteers who support their programs and services to the community.

Greg Cook SESVA President said, ” This day provides the opportunity to acknowledge the important service provided in our case by SES Volunteers for their dedication and commitment to keep the Community safe in Western Australia”.

20/11/2023 – General Rescue training update

No doubt SES Volunteers remember the Equipment Recall and Prohibition (ERAP) Circular banning the body belay and ladder hinge/slide techniques. You may be also aware that there isn’t any training in power hand tools, jacking and cribbing or hydraulic hand tools.

To cover these areas, we are pleased to advise that the new General Rescue Course is close to completion and will be available in early 2024.

This course is designed to bridge the gap between Basic General Rescue (BGR) and Vertical Rescue (VR)/Road Crash Rescue (RCR), giving all units rescue capability.

General Rescue is a modular four-day course that can be broken up into two weekends with the following components:

  • Anchoring – similar to VR and Roof Safety Systems
  • Low angle Rescue – rescue from slopes too steep to walk with a stretcher and rescue from height or depth (from a roof or hole in the ground)
  • Rescue of the lightly trapped – including power hand tool use, jacking, cribbing and shoring.

The General Rescue course was successfully trialled in Bunbury and following the quality control process, it will be published.

This course will be a prerequisite to Storm Damage Operations (SDO), VR and RCR meaning these courses can be shortened in the future or that we can enhance the existing courses to make time for more practical activities.

Interested volunteers can apply to become the foundation trainer group by lodging an expression of interest through their District Officers.





16/11/2013 – Opportunity to expand your Volunteering Experience

Association Training Advisory Group — State Emergency Service (ATAG-SES)

DFES are looking for SES volunteers with relevant training experience to fill vacancies as Regional Representatives for the ATAG-SES.

Its purpose is to provide a forum for the communication of training information between the Department of Fire & Emergency Services (DFES) and State Emergency Service personnel and will have the following objectives:

  • The group shall concern themselves with matters related to the training offered through the State.
  • Emergency Service Pathway, its delivery, associated systems and relationship with DFES strategic plan.
  • The group will provide formal recommendations to be considered in developing strategies to improve training for State Emergency Service personnel to meet current operational needs and requirements.
  • To improve the operational effectiveness of Volunteers through the group’s advice and recommendations for the ongoing development of DFES Professional Development Pathways.
  • To improve the operational effectiveness of continuation training for Volunteers through the group’s advice and recommendations.

As a Regional Representative, you will be:

  • Disseminating and communicating the minutes of the ATAG – SES to their subgroups and members.
  • Actively seeking input into deliberations of the ATAG – SES through their respective committees and networks.
  • Providing a report to the ATAG – SES.

This is an opportunity for SES volunteers on the coal face to raise concerns they encounter when providing the current training, along with being able to have input into the future training needs of their fellow volunteers. You will not only be representing your Unit but your region.

The ATAG meets twice a year, however, there are times when the group will reach out to its membership to seek their advice/feedback throughout the year.

To nominate provide your name, Unit, and contact details together with a brief summary of your skills and experience. This can either be SES-related or outside the service.

Nominations should be sent to Matt Folini—

For general enquiries, please reach out to either Supt Matt Folini or Robbie Palmer (SESVA representative)


16/11/2023 – Applications for 2023 Community Training Grants

Applications for 2023 Community Training Grants are now open

Applications are now open for Community Training Grants (scholarships) for you or your brigade, group and unit with the Australian Institute of Management WA (AIM WA).

Every year the Australian Institute of Management WA (AIM WA) recognises and rewards charitable and not-for-profit organisations and aspiring professionals with their Community Training Grants (scholarships).

Applications are now open!

The grants are part of their ongoing commitment to shaping management, leadership and workplace excellence in the Western Australian community.

Not-for-profit organisations can receive up to $3,000 and up to $4,000 for individuals to participate in AIM WA training courses.

You can apply for a Community Training Grant within the following categories:

  • Organisational within the Not-for-profit sector – all brigades, groups and units registered with DFES are eligible. 
  • Ben Scott Young Professional – individuals new to the workforce, particularly those that are just starting out in their career.
  • First Nations people – individuals working or looking to work within a managerial role and wanting to undertake professional development in support of this.

Applications will close on Wednesday 13 December 2023

Community Training Grants may be awarded in the following fields:

  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  • Leadership and Management 
  • Frontline Management and Supervision
  • Work Health and Safety
  • Project, Contract and Process Improvement
  • Finance, Sales and Marketing
  • HR, Training and Administration
  • Computer Skills.

Testimonial From a Past Winner

“The AIM WA Scholarship Program for not-for-profit organisations is a wonderful initiative, making first-class training available to those who may not be able to benefit otherwise. Our team look forward to selecting programs that will benefit them personally as well as the Foundation, so we can help transform the health care of WA’s sick children and young people so they can live their healthiest and happiest lives.” 

Carrick Robinson – Chief Executive Officer, Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation

Application details

This initiative is being coordinated by AIM WA. For more details and to apply for a Training Grant, visit the AIM WA website or contact their team.


16/11/2023 – My Unit- Communications Support Unit

SES Communications Support Unit (CSU)

The SES Communications Support Unit (CSU) was created around 1962 as a part of the Civil Defence and Emergency Service of Western Australia. It was the Communications Section of the State Headquarters. Volunteer members were known as Staff Officer Reserve (SOR) and were part of a group of Staff and Volunteers, along with Operations Section Volunteers, who managed State level operations for emergency incidents.

The group transitioned to being part of the Western Australian State Emergency Service when the Civil Defence part of the organisation’s name was dropped in 1974. After the transition it retained its name of Communications Section. The group remained with these titles for about forty years until, in the early 2000s, it was formally approved as an SES Unit under the FES act (1998). It then became the SES Communications Support Unit (CSU).

The CSU has continuously operated a volunteer Section/Unit to support the Western Australian community at State, Regional and Local levels and is not associated with specific local government boundaries. It is one of the longest operating SES groups in the State.

The CSU remains unique throughout Australia and has always included innovative volunteers serving their community and travelling throughout the State developing volunteers and staff in the establishment and maintenance of emergency communication systems.

During emergency operations, the CSU are regularly activated to establish and maintain critical communication links in areas where there is little or no existing radio and telephone services. In the earlier years the CSU specialised in HF, VHF and UHF radio and telephony systems and networks. Today however, the range of services provided extends to satellite communication, digital audio/visual data management over the Internet and dedicated secure channels.

For many years CSU was based in at the ‘Bunker’ in Belmont and is currently based at the SWORD facility in Kewdale. The Unit consists of more than forty volunteers, whose ‘daytime’ jobs range from students, ICT professionals, radio technicians and professionals from various fields.

As an SES Volunteer unit, the CSU has been managed by Volunteer Local Managers including Cheryl Greenough, Stephen Summerton, Henry Edwards, Rob Crawford, Greg Cook and currently Chris Knight.


14/011/2023 – From the Secretary Desk November 2023


Not happy with the Government’s position on PTSD Presumptive Legislation

A letter from the five Volunteer Prescribed Emergency Service Associations jointly expressing profound disappointment with the PTSD Presumptive Legislation has been sent to Minister Stephen Dawson MLA, Commissioner Klemm, Shadow Minister, Martin Aldridge MLA and Premier Roger Cook.

The Association has raised matters related to PTSD with the DFES Executive and has gone to DFES Legal, but no response received to date.

The letter is reproduced  in the current SESVA Newsletter November 2023

WAFES Awards and Gala Dinner – feedback sought

There are a limited number of seats for the Gala Dinner and there is a limit of two persons per SES Unit. The Association could assist in clarifying what the requirements are by helping to make the instructions for registering clearer and publicise this across VA media platforms. Also, that the VA Executive request DFES issue invitations to the WAFES conference to each Volunteer Association management committee member, as they do with the SESVAC.
Please give your feedback on the WAFES Conference and the Awards and Gala Dinner to the Regional Management Committee Member or Secretary Allen Gale.

Operational Efficiency Payments (OEP) review – information required

The secretary has attended OEP working party meetings with DFES which he believes will deliver good outcomes for SES, whereas it is likely to be more difficult for fire agencies. The name of the payment system may be changed to Valued Service Payment to reflect its purpose more accurately. SES Units can help to improve the current system by letting their regional Management Committee Member or Secretary Allen Gale know what the OEP is generally spent on.

WAFES Awards and Gala Dinner – feedback sought

There are a limited number of seats for the Gala Dinner and there is a limit of two persons per SES Unit. The Association could assist in clarifying what the requirements are by helping to make the instructions for registering clearer and publicise this across VA media platforms.

Also, that the VA Executive request DFES issue invitations to the WAFES conference to each Volunteer Association management committee member, as they do with the SESVAC.
Please give your feedback on the WAFES Conference and the Awards and Gala Dinner to the Regional Management Committee Member or Secretary Allen Gale.

National Awards and Recognition

WA only represents 7% of total awards on a national level and falling below 10% quota.

More people need to be nominated to reach the 10% level. The Volunteer Association to provide people with tools or more substantive information to assist them in making award nominations.

District Officers should assist with award nominations.

Loss of Training Qualifications without Notification

Many SES Volunteers are losing accreditation outside of their normal core skills which are being taken off the list without being advised or addressed.

There is no opportunity or process for Volunteers to retain their qualifications.

The Committee resolved to adopt a policy for DFES to reinstate all qualifications that have been removed in the last 12 months, pending a review of the process, and that Volunteers’ retention of training qualifications be on par with career staff.

The next Meeting of the VA Committee is scheduled for Thursday 7 December 2023

How to contact the SESVA Secretary Allen Gale ESM

mobile: 0419 935 497