Fire and emergency volunteering on agenda during Governing from Regions program

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford today highlighted the work of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services personnel at a workshop in Caloundra during the Palaszczuk Government’s Governing from the Regions program.

Mr Crawford said the aim of the workshop was to receive feedback on the QFES Volunteerism Strategy, which was launched by the Minister and QFES Commissioner Katarina Carroll in October.

“Across Queensland we now have more than 45,000 QFES volunteers and we want to get feedback from as many as possible about the strategy and the best way to put it in place,” Mr Crawford said.

“These workshops will help QFES staff and volunteers understand the aims of the strategy, its benefits and challenges and how these issues could affect volunteering.”

Mr Crawford said there were more than 2000 volunteers with the State Emergency Service and the Rural Fire Service across the Sunshine Coast region.

“Quite frankly, I don’t know where we’d be without them, especially when disaster strikes,” he said.

“That was exemplified earlier this year when so many of our Caloundra volunteers from both the SES and the RFS were deployed to Townsville to help out during the floods.

“They were amazing and as a Government we can’t thank them enough for the hard work, help and support they gave to the residents in our State’s north.”

Mr Crawford said today’s volunteers already had very busy lives and their input into the strategy was important.

“The challenges we face with our volunteers include an ageing population, a time-poor society, competing priorities, and the emergence of new technologies,” he said.

Mr Crawford visited Caloundra as part of a state-wide roadshow to discuss the implementation plan for the Volunteerism Strategy.

“As a former volunteer firefighter for more than 20 years I understand the sacrifices made to make sure Queenslanders are safe and for that I thank you,” he said.

“But we know that the volunteer landscape is ever-changing and that is why it is important to talk with our volunteers and answer any questions they may have about the new strategy.”

Mr Crawford said the Volunteerism Strategy was formed from the 2016 QFES Volunteer Survey, when more than 600 volunteers and staff provided feedback from 20 workshops.

“By heading back on the road, we can ensure QFES’s volunteer culture remains strong, so our workforce can continue to provide essential services to all Queensland communities.

Commissioner Carroll said the QFES volunteer workforce also included some members of the State’s Fire and Rescue Service in the areas of peer support, research, scientific and technical rescue.

“Using feedback from the survey and the new Volunteerism Strategy, we want to make sure we further engage with all of our volunteers and staff across these areas to implement positive changes,” Ms Carroll said.

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