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.



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 (, 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, 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:


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.

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]


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.

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 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.


VICSES statement: Port Campbell

A statement from Chief Officer, Tim Wiebusch, following the tragic loss of two VICSES volunteers in Port Campbell.

Victoria State Emergency (VICSES) is deeply saddened by the tragic passing of two VICSES volunteers this morning, responding to a rescue in their capacity as Life Saving Victoria volunteers.

VICSES volunteers, management and staff express their deepest sympathies to their family, friends and fellow VICSES members at the Port Campbell Unit.

These two members were dedicated and respected volunteers and their loss will be felt, not only across our organisation, but throughout the community.

VICSES thoughts are also with the third Life Saving Victoria volunteer and his family, after he was airlifted to hospital with serious injuries.

He has also served his community for many years as a VICSES and CFA volunteer.

VICSES has offered support to both the familes involved and volunteers at the unit, as well as our partners at Life Saving Victoria.

We ask that the privacy of the families and members of the unit be respected during this difficult time.

Tim Wiebusch 

Victoria State Emergency Service Chief Officer 


The Phoenix has gone digital!

As Phoenix moves into a contemporary online format, it is worth noting the significant volunteer contribution that has been made to the State of Victoria and its local communities for many decades.

This inaugural online edition of Phoenix looks back at a selection of previously published articles and celebrates the enormous range of SES volunteers’ skills and abilities that continue to build civic cohesion, keep communities safe, work effectively with other agencies, and add value to the lived experience of individuals, in groups and neighbourhoods.

To view the latest copy of the Phoenix please login or register.


VICSES sees decade-long surge in women joining the volunteer…

Providing emergency assistance and supporting other vital services has led to the number of women volunteering at Victoria State Emergency Service (VicSES) leap from about 700 a decade ago to about 1,687 women in 2019.

The VicSES manager of regional operations and readiness, Craig Hooper, said there were a number of reasons for the increase in women volunteers.

“It’s attributed to the programs that we offer and the management of these units,” he said, “and recognising the skill sets that females bring to our organisation to lead our volunteer units.”

Across the decade, the number of women in leadership roles has nearly doubled to 107 — now making up about a quarter of all leaders in the organisation.

“The skill sets you gain with the State Emergency Service, they’re not just to be used through this organisation,” he said.

“They’re skills for life.”

Read the full article at


Broadmeadows SES members attend 10th anniversary memorial service

Members of Broadmeadows SES attended the memorial service for the 10th anniversary of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires at the Royal Exhibition Building.

In 2009, the Broadmeadows SES Unit was called on to provide assistance with ground support, staging and equipment.

We remember those who lost their lives and livelihoods and thank all the emergency services personnel who gave countless hours to fighting the worst bushfire in Australia’s history.

Article and images courtesy of Broadmeddows Unit Facebook Page: