Sadly, COVID-19 restrictions meant we couldn’t progress with the big in-person celebration we had hoped to have to launch our awesome new Essential Service Volunteers mobile App.
So in April, we wrote to the offices of some decision-makers to share the good news: after clear advice from DFES that it will not support any increase in funding to allow us to deliver better support and services to our amazing 20,000+ Bush Fire Volunteers and in order to do so we need to develop non-government sources of funding, we built an innovative new mobile App that with their support, can deliver some really positive results to Australia’s 250,000+ ES volunteers.
Since the service will not only deliver returns for Essential Service Volunteers, their Captains/Managers and those who need to understand their contributions for things like equipment provision and insurance, but also small businesses and tourism providers, we contacted these offices:
- Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Hon Ben Morton MP
- Emergency Services Minister Hon Fran Logan MLA
- Volunteering Minister Hon Mick Murray MLA
- Tourism and Small Business Minister Hon Paul Papalia MLA
- Innovation and ICT Minister Hon Dave Kelly MLA
- FES Commissioner Darren Klemm, and
- the DFES Media Team
We merely asked for a “supportive line or two” to help us attract the media attention the App deserves but to our great surprise and delight, the first response we have received is the letter below from Prime Minister Scott Morrison!
Like our association, the App is not in any way “Party” political, but the fact is, Members of Parliament and our Commissioner are under constant pressure to make decisions about how to spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year to best support our community’s huge volunteer workforce.
The protection, awareness and support our App delivers volunteers is obvious, but one of the very compelling reasons we want Governments (Local, State and Federal – regardless of which Party is in power) to back our work is that it will provide statistics about exactly how many hours essential service volunteers contribute to our communities – finally allowing properly informed discussion about where government resources should be focussed.
We all know a Brigade or Unit that really genuinely needs a new truck or other piece of equipment but simply doesn’t have the data to mount a strong enough case to be considered a funding priority by those with the purse-strings. When someone asks a Captain “Just how many hours do your team of volunteers contribute every year and what kinds of things are they doing all that time?” instead of the current guestimates everyone is forced to provide, they’ll have a report of the FACTS in their back pocket.
Trying to get support from government on this isn’t anything to do with politics, it’s quite simply about us using the tools available to ensure what our amazing volunteer members all know, can finally be proven and in the statistical form that so many funding bodies need to process requests.
Anyhow, if you’re an essential service volunteer (or the partner of one who is worried about how your loved one might get evidence to support a future cancer or loss of income claim), give us a supportive shout out and register for the free App from https://esvolunteers.org.au/ now.
If you’re a Captain, Volunteer Manager, Local Government Manager or even head of a massive volunteer service, get in touch with us to chat about how we can customise the App to benefit you and your volunteers right now.
And lastly, thank you Prime Minister Morrison for responding and doing so in such a positive, collaborative way. We can’t wait to work with the WA Government too!
MESSAGE FROM THE PRIME MINISTER
To all at Bushfire Volunteers, thank you for the work you do as the representative group for the WA volunteer bushfire brigades.
Bushfire Volunteers give volunteers the backing they need to get the job done across the entirety of Western Australia.
Our volunteers prepare for every eventuality. They rely on training, organisation, forethought and the support of families, employers and so many others.
Bushfire Volunteers is a vital support for over 20,000 volunteers across Western Australia.
With the launch of your Essential Service Volunteers Mobile App, your organisation has achieved a new level of engagement and expertise.
In developing the app, you listened to your members and gave them what they need. And it’s not just the volunteers who need it. We all do. Data from the app will measure what a volunteer commitment means in terms of hours worked, distances travelled, the difference made. That’s essential knowledge for planning, and for understanding.
Our recent Black Summer put all our volunteers to the test. Sadly, we were also reminded of the risks as well. So I honour the commitment of our bushfire volunteers.
I thank you for what you do for our communities all throughout the year. All Australians are proud of you and your efforts.
Keep up your mighty work. What you all do truly matters.
The Hon Scott Morrison MP
Prime Minister of Australia