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NSESVA Volunteer Payment Support Media Release

Volunteer Compensation should be extended to SES members

The recently announced Federal Government scheme to compensate volunteer firefighters in some states should be extended nationally and should include volunteer members of the State Emergency Service (SES).

“The National SES Volunteers Association (NSESVA), representing more than 30,000 SES Volunteers across Australia, believe that SES Volunteers should be reimbursed where they lose income, or for out of pocket expenses, in extended response to emergency events, whether it be for fire support, flood, storm, tsunami or earthquake” said NSESVA President Gordon Hall.

This fire season SES volunteers have been working for extended periods around the country supporting firefighting operations, taking members away from work, family and other commitments. Like Fire volunteers, SES members in the workforce forgo income to serve and protect the community. When this happens for extended periods, it becomes a burden on them, their families and employers.

Mr Hall continued “There needs to be equity for all emergency response personnel, including the SES Volunteers across the country”

Mr Hall added “Whilst SES volunteers generally do not want payment for their services, they also believe that being a volunteer should not be a financial burden to themselves or their families.”

There are rigorous processes to screen new SES Volunteers with obligations for members to attend training and operations which protects against abuse of this scheme.

The NSESVA believes there should be no payment to volunteers for their service in volunteering to their community, however reimbursement for lost income and out of pocket expenses, within a set criterion is to be supported.

“The NSESVA is severely disappointed about this scheme being formulated without wider consultation and we call upon the Federal Government to urgently meet with the emergency responder peak volunteer bodies, to discuss and provide their knowledge and experience as input to the Federal Government scheme.” said Mr Hall

“The new normal of extended, environment-related incidents around the country requires more volunteers over longer periods of time.   A uniform national scheme is necessary to compensate Fire and SES Volunteers for loss of income is fair when the community is relying on volunteer efforts, particularly for survival.  The alternative of more full-time or paid standby emergency personnel would be significantly more in cost.”  Mr Hall concluded.

Gordon Hall ESM
Chairman – Board of Directors
National SES Volunteers Association

News

Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey Results Now Available

VicSESVA, VICSES, EMV and Government study the survey report for trends in volunteer opinion on how well they are being treated and how well they are being supported by VICSES. The EMV website has details of the 2017 sector-wide report (https://www.emv.vic.gov.au/how-we-helpvolunteers/emergency-management-volunteer-welfare-and-efficiency-survey), which identified that a high percentage of volunteers are satisfied with their volunteer role at the local level and intend to continue. The report states that volunteer expectations are most closely met within their local teams, with strong results around teams being volunteer-friendly and welcoming, and in relation to diversity, equality and not tolerating bullying.

Opportunities for improvement were identified as well, with the results identifying that emergency management volunteers would like to see increased access to and flexibility of training, and greater and more meaningful engagement in corporate decisions that impact them.

The sector reports are available for government and agencies to better understand volunteers’ perspectives and to continue to work to ensure volunteers are valued and supported.

The Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey began with the CFA volunteers’ association, Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) seven years ago, and now for the fourth year VFBV is hosting the survey on behalf of VicSESVA. VicSESVA appreciates the support by VFBV and our common aim of supporting volunteers.

Each year, there are more participants in the survey – which means a steadily growing influence with the State’s decision makers.

To obtain a copy of 2019 survey results (or previous versions) VicSESVA survey results please email [email protected] or login via the website, vicsesva.org.au and browse to Library > Documents.

https://vicsesva.org.au/login 

News

AGL support for Volunteer Firefighters and SES Volunteers

AGL is a electricity and gas retailer and generator in some states and territories.

AGL will support active volunteer firefighters and SES volunteers by providing them with a $150 credit per customer on their electricity or gas bills. The support is available to small business and residential customers.

Registered and active volunteer firefighters and SES volunteers should provide their volunteer ID number to AGL customer service staff and the credit will be applied to their next bill.

We know that at a time like this, energy bills are probably the last thing on the minds of volunteers.

But when they have time to think about their own position, they can contact AGL at their convenience on 131 245 at any time before 7 July 2020 to claim the credit. Our customer service centres are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For further information please follow this link

https://www.agl.com.au/bushfires

News

SES Minifigures Coming Soon

A new SES minifigure has been developed and is in production by the BigBrick company. SES minifigures should be ready in about 2-3 weeks time. Every minifigure sold helps raise funds for the Emergency Services Foundation, which works to assist all emergency service workers in Victoria.

The BigBrick SES minifigures are designed to work perfectly with building sets and parts from the world’s best known brands. $20 each with $5 from the sale of each unit going to the Emergency Services Foundation.

Order your personalised minifigures here https://www.thebigbrick.com/en/102-ses-victoria

Other emergency service minifigures are in development and coming soon!

News

Closure of the Volunteer Association Shop

For over two decades, the Volunteer Association has operated the VESA Shop with a primary focus of supplying all VICSES members with the approved non-uniform items listed within the VICSES Clothing Catalogue (such as polo’s, beanies, volunteer uniform items) and associated memorabilia (e.g.: plaques, etc.) in collaboration with VICSES.

Processes have remained largely manual and reliant on a small cohort of volunteers to administer the Shop. Changes with suppliers requiring larger quantities before orders could be filled, long lead times for adhoc items and pre-payment requirements have proved challenging. Servicing member needs became difficult when the shop ran out of most stock and had to receive orders from customers and retype them into purchase orders, which were then forwarded to the supplier where changes in staff and fluctuating availability of stock led to delays in orders being received and items being backordered without the Shop being advised. Whilst the VESA Shop had explored online ordering systems, this had become cost prohibitive to fully integrate this with suppliers.

In an effort to continually improve the Volunteer experience VICSESVA and VICSES have worked together to streamline the process to obtain VICSES casual wear. VICSES and VICSESVA have recently reached agreement to close the VESA Shop with VICSES supporting the buy-out a small amount of existing stock along with transitioning key approved product items within the VICSES Clothing Manual (e.g.: polos, shorts, etc.) to our VICSES Buy Online arrangements. VICSES will leverage its existing supplier contracts to now provide these items ongoing through existing Uniform and PPC&E contracts.

On behalf of all members, I wish to thank the VICSES Volunteer Association (VICSESVA), and in particular, those who have run the VESA Shop on a voluntary basis including the final shop manager Chris Patton, for providing this valuable service to our members over many years.

Tim Wiebusch
Chief Officer Operations

To view the full operations update, please visit the link below to download the update from the VICSES Hub.

https://hub.ses.vic.gov.au/documents/127828/153992/Operations+Update+-+19-2019-+Closure+of+the+VESA+shop%2C+key+items+soon+to+be+in+VICSES+Buy+Online.pdf/d1fc7ff2-e9a4-57a0-8b24-6c0f28955e69

 

News

2019 Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey Now Open

To all VICSES volunteers:

Many of you have taken part in VicSESVA’s Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey in previous years. These surveys have been a great success and you are now invited to take part in our fourth survey which opens this week and runs until October 14.

You can also help us by spreading the word and encouraging other volunteers to respond to the survey – the more responses, the more impact the results will have, so please encourage other volunteers to take part.

VicSESVA, VICSES, EMV and Government study the survey report for trends in volunteer opinion on how well they are being treated and how well they are being supported by VICSES. The EMV website has details of the 2017 sector-wide report (https://www.emv.vic.gov.au/how-we-helpvolunteers/emergency-management-volunteer-welfare-and-efficiency-survey), which identified that a high percentage of volunteers are satisfied with their volunteer role at the local level and intend to continue. The report states that volunteer expectations are most closely met within their local teams, with strong results around teams being volunteer-friendly and welcoming, and in relation to diversity, equality and not tolerating bullying.

Opportunities for improvement were identified as well, with the results identifying that emergency management volunteers would like to see increased access to and flexibility of training, and greater and more meaningful engagement in corporate decisions that impact them.

The sector reports are available for government and agencies to better understand volunteers’ perspectives and to continue to work to ensure volunteers are valued and supported.

The Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey began with the CFA volunteers’ association, Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) seven years ago, and now for the fourth year VFBV is hosting the survey on behalf of VicSESVA. VicSESVA appreciates the support by VFBV and our common aim of supporting volunteers.

Each year, there are more participants in the survey – which means a steadily growing influence with the State’s decision makers. To obtain a copy of previous VicSESVA survey results please email [email protected] or login via the website, vicsesva.org.au and browse to Library > Documents.

All responses are confidential and will be analysed independently of VicSESVA, who will be provided with aggregated results. VicSESVA will utilise the survey results to advocate on behalf of VICSES volunteers.

If you do not have access to the internet, we can send you a paper copy, please request this from the secretary Faye Bendrups on 0435 964 455.

Members who have registered in previous surveys will have received an email direct from VFBV with a custom link.

Survey is available until close of business on Monday 14 October 2019.

Survey Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2019sessurvey

News

Victorian Volunteer Strategy

Victorian Volunteer Strategy – consultation open

The Victorian Government has a 2018 Election commitment to develop and implement a Volunteer Strategy to support and enhance volunteerism in Victoria.

The strategy will be informed by extensive consultation across the Victorian public and volunteering community, seeking deep insights into the challenges and opportunities for volunteers, community members, and managers of volunteers and organisations.

Online consultation is open on Engage Victoria until 24 November 2019, and we encourage you to have your say – as community members, volunteers, or leaders of community organisations. There are two surveys to capture insights from different groups with an interest in volunteering:

  • Volunteering leadership and support – seeking input on the strategic or operational leadership of volunteering, and feedback on how we can support and strengthen volunteering.
  • Community life and volunteering – seeking all views and experiences from the Victorian public, from a wide range of perspectives, including if they have never volunteered.
News

Phoenix Journals from 2005 to 2019 are now available

The VA has just uploaded Phoenix Journals from 2019 to 2005. They are available on the VA website for members to download at anytime. The older editions are available under the phoenix menu (labeled previous editions) and appear once logged in. Work is still continuing to upload the remaining issues from 1987 to 2004. For any assistance please email [email protected]

News

Wear Orange Wednesday 2019

On Wednesday 22nd May, all Australians are encouraged to wear orange in a united show of thanks for the tremendous work done and commitment shown by SES volunteers.
Wear Orange Wednesday (WOW Day) is a national day of thanks for the many Victoria State Emergency Services (VICSES) volunteers who support their local communities during flood, storm, landslide, road rescue, search and rescue, and more.
In Victoria, SES volunteers responded to more than 31,000 calls for assistance last year, equalling a total of 302,623 operational hours.

Show your support for SES volunteers by wearing something orange on Wednesday, 22 May.

Landmarks in Melbourne and across the country will be ‘flooded’ in orange this WOW Day in support of SES volunteers, including the MCG, AAMI Park, Bolte Bridge and the Melbourne Star.

  • Events and morning teas will also be held throughout the state.
  • Take a photo and tag it with #thankyouSES
  • Change your profile picture to support WOW Day.
  • Send a message of thanks to SES volunteers on social media include the #thankyouSES hashtag.
Uncategorized

First edition Phoenix now available online

With the Phoenix’s move to a digital format, it reminded us to look back to where it all started. We’ve now uploaded Edition 1 from 1987 for members to read and download with the aim to eventually digitally archive all editions to preserve the Journals history. To view or download the first edition, simply login https://vicsesva.org.au/login/and select vintage editions from the Phoenix menu. Thanks to SES Craigieburn Unit for letting us view the Phoenix collection at the VICSES Museum. If anyone has any historic information about The Phoenix or VESA, please email [email protected], we’d love to hear from you.