The association has worked long and hard for many years to reform much of the way the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) is managed and reported.

One specific issue we have long pursued on behalf of our members is to reverse the anomaly that members of DFES-managed volunteer brigades were able to be provided with multiple sets of State-funded Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) but Local Government Bush Fire Brigade volunteers were only allowed to have one set.

Despite it being a huge no-brainer for us that forcing volunteers in busy brigades and those on deployment to wear the same PPE day after day without opportunity to wash – let alone dry it – is in itself a health and safety risk, it’s been a loooong hard slog to get the rules of the ESL changed to allow for the same level of support DFES-managed volunteers get.

Anyhow, we are very pleased to announce that the Local Government Grants Scheme Working Group (voting members are Bushfire Volunteers, SES Volunteer Association, WALGA and DFES) has unanimously supported the motion we moved on 13 June 2020:

That ‘the Eligible Items list in the current LGGS Grant Manual be updated to include the provision of the same number of sets of PPE as DFES managed VFES Units, and all Local Governments advised of the update’.

Commissioner Klemm has advised that he supports the recommendations of the Working Group “in principle” but didn’t confirm precisely what he has signed off on.

We therefore simply don’t know if the 2021/22 Local Government Grants Scheme manual (due to be published any time now) will reflect this change or if we have to do even more work to try to get an addendum published that will enable Bush Fire Brigades to have equal access to this essential safety equipment before July 2022.

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That ‘the Eligible Items list in the current LGGS Grant Manual be updated to include the provision of the same number of sets of PPE as DFES managed VFES Units, and all Local Governments advised of the update’.

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