The following article appeared in the September edition of the newsletter published by our friends at the SES Volunteers Association. We thought this month’s was particularly relevant to our members because it seems our SES colleagues are experiencing some of the same challenges this association has spent years trying to work with government to resolve.

While it’s kind of comforting that another independent organisation has publicly confirmed that we have been unfairly targeted as a “canary in the coalmine” because there are systemic problems, being vindicated in this way brings us no joy whatsoever.

Please talk to us, your local government Councillors and staff and Members of State Parliament about this concerning issue.

Sponsor's message

Hi to everyone at this time while we are experiencing the turn in our seasons.

Spring and summer role on please!

Sorry to the winter lovers.

I do watch in interest, the demands that are placed on us SES Volunteers by DFES.

Meetings during business hours, that affect our normal ability to make a living, the Minister reminding us that career staff run the emergency services, and volunteers will do as they are told.

Sponsor's message

The passage of time sees the pendulum swing from side to side.

At one time, if a volunteer caught a cold, all career staff received the same. Currently it may appear to some that we are no longer important in the overall picture of being a true local resource to work with and for the community in which we live.

There is no doubt that we are seeing a metro centric management model that is immature in its approach to community raised and based organisations.

Will this improve in time?

Well that is not up to DFES or the Minister, its in the hands of the owners. Yes, that’s us in the SES world. We own our patches and DFES has a duty to ensure that we are resourced to meet our local needs

Many would be surprised with that statement? If you have needs that are not being met because we are encouraged to accept a one size fits all approach from career staff, then its time to collectively speak up respectfully.

Another word of caution is that once we lose our independence, it is gone!

Indeed I have witnessed Local Governments being encouraged to transfer the LGGS payment to DFES to manage, thus ensuring our future is managed out of our towns.

Don’t believe that all those in government organisations are working to ensure that we, the SES, are well resourced, and that we can recruit and retain volunteers to educate and respond to our communities. Again, many staff members in government are truly focused on doing this but they are not where you are, living with what you have or have not.

People helping people is our local model but personalities can close units. All the best to the Jurien Unit that was closed because of a personality. Lets not abandon our community for the sake of a square peg attempting to be forced into a rounded community.

Respect, integrity and relationships are required by we the SES. Most of all, smile and enjoy the volunteers tasks we achieve day in and day out.

Take care everyone, great times are coming.

Greg Cook

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