SES in a state of emergency over volunteers

25 September, 2011
Author: Charles Hodgson

LNP Shadow Minister for Emergency Services John-Paul Langbroek has slammed the Bligh Government for red tape which means 300 willing and able SES volunteers will have their training delayed until next year.
“Storm season is here and there are 300 people willing to give up their time to help in an emergency but because of red tape they can’t volunteer until 2012,” Mr Langbroek said.
Regional councils have said they are so desperate for new recruits to join the SES that they are being forced to do deals with resource companies operating in their areas to meet SES numbers.
“We saw last summer just how vital our SES crews are,” Mr Langbroek said.
“Mother Nature strikes whenever she wants. This means we must be prepared and not dither around failing to get SES volunteers trained.”
Mr Langbroek said today’s revelations were just the latest in a long string of stories about red tape wasting so much time and resources that many people had stopped volunteering.
“The SES has lost 5600 volunteers over the last five years, but Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts denied this saying that 2005 volunteer figures were inflated.
“When qualified tradesmen who volunteered complained about doing training courses teaching them how to climb a ladder and the time it wasted, their pleas fell on deaf ears.
“Volunteers are a vital support both during and after natural disasters and they need to be trained properly. We don’t want corners cut, we want the red tape cut.”
A CanDo LNP government will cut waste and red tape and take action on the basics to attract and keep residents volunteering for essential services like the SES and Rural Fire Service.