- Campaign by peak body for Western Australian Bushfire Volunteers delivers collaboration with DFES to correct a policy anomaly that saw some emergency service volunteers funded for life-saving devices but not others.
- Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) has today announced that as a direct result, every Volunteer Bush Fire fleet vehicle will be supplied with an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), funded by the Emergency Services Levy (ESL)
- Bushfire Volunteers thanks Commissioner Darren Klemm and Assistant Commissioner Brad Delavale for listening to the concerns of the peak body and working collaboratively on delivering this excellent outcome.
The peak body for WA’s 26,000 Bushfire Volunteers has publicly thanked the State Government for confirming today (DFES media statement here) that it will correct a long-standing anomaly that allowed some volunteer emergency services access to life-saving equipment but not others.
Bushfire Volunteers Executive Officer Darren Brown said that prior to the peak body raising the issue with the Department, Bush Fire Brigades were explicitly not allowed to apply for funding from the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) for Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs), despite them being provided for other volunteer fire services.
“We were approached by Bushfire Volunteers that were being forced to sell lamingtons and rattle tins to buy one of these important first aid devices while the volunteers up the road had them supplied by the State Government,” Mr Brown said.
“We raised the anomaly with the Department and to the great credit of Commissioner Darren Klemm and Assistant Commissioner Brad Delavale, everyone agreed it didn’t make sense then worked together to fix it – and delivered this outcome relatively quickly”
“This is a great result and a fine example of the many positive outcomes we have always delivered on behalf of the incredible 20,000+ registered volunteers of WA’s amazing Bush Fire Service.”
“It is often publicly reported when the Association disagrees with the government, but to be frank, some on all sides of the fence have failed to see the immense value we provide by doing so. Sadly, we’re sometimes attacked and even been punished for challenging the status quo by those who don’t understand our value.”
“History shows that governments often get into the most trouble when they don’t have a well-supported representative body like ours to provide alternative views – even though we accept that no one likes to have their ideas challenged.”
“But this is one of many examples of how the Association has delivered a very positive outcome over the three decades it has represented the vast majority of Western Australia’s emergency service personnel.”
“If we hadn’t raised the issue, volunteers who often work in terrain not accessible by ambulance would not have the essential first aid devices that their tarmac-based volunteer colleagues in other services do.”
“Although we have a long history of delivering positive change, the way this outcome unfolded signals an exciting change in the culture of DFES.”
“Our members raised the issue with us as their peak body, we lobbied DFES as the custodian of the ESL and the new bit – Commissioner Klemm and AC Delavale listened and worked WITH us to fix the problem.”
“Quite simply, the process worked just as it should,” Mr Brown concluded.