President’s Message Emergency Volunteer Forum

Tuesday, 12 Aug 2014

Last Wednesday, 6th August I attended the first meeting of the new Volunteer Consultative Committee chaired by Ted Malone MP, Assistant Minister for Emergency Volunteers.

With leaders of all emergency volunteer organisations in the state present, the main discussions revolved around assisting each other in times of need, training and recognition of qualifications across the board. Lengthy discussion were also had on the development of programs to retain volunteers and the cadet programme, as I have said quite often, 'our youth are our future and their recruitment is an investment in the communities throughout Queensland for years to come'.

Mark Connors represented SESAQ (SES Association Queensland) and spoke on the capacity of SES volunteers to provide support to RSFQ volunteers. This revolved around transport, logistics, communications and welfare. The subject of joint training courses in chainsaws, four wheel driving, communications and first aid for all volunteers was discussed at length and it was agreed by all organisations present, that if communities were going to be able to support each other, it has to start at grass roots level.

I must say that I was very proud of the efforts of Graeme McWilliam, RFBAQ Maryborough District Representative and the Local Assistance Agreement he is negotiating between Volunteer Marine Rescue Hervey Bay and River Heads/Kingfisher Rural Fire Brigade as it will become a blueprint for joint support. Even though it is still in draft format it was agreed by all organisations present at the meeting this simple one page document was all that is needed. It basically revolves around transporting volunteers and supplies from River Heads to Fraser Island.

For us at a local volunteer and brigade level it is time for us to start identifying volunteer capabilities in our communities and how that can best be utilised. Ted Malone, with support from Minister Hon. Jack Dempsey MP, and Acting Deputy Commissioner, Emergency Service Volunteers Brian Cifuentes has given us the opportunity to plan our future and enhance our service at a local level.

Travel Safely, Stay Safe
Mike Garrahy AFSM, RFBAQ President

The attached photo was taken at the first Queensland Emergency Volunteer forum, L to R: Peter Jeffrey, Director SES MSS for QFES; Ted Malone, Assistant Minister for Emergency Volunteers; Mark Connors, Chair SESAQ; Bryan Cifuentes, Acting Deputy Commissioner, Emergency Service Volunteers; and Mike Garrahy, President RFBAQ.

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