The NSW State Emergency Service (NSW SES) has welcomed an $89.4 million investment into the agency from the NSW Government.
The funding package, which was announced by the NSW Government earlier this week (Wednesday 14 December 2022), will support the NSW SES as it responds to recommendations from the NSW Independent Flood Inquiry.
The $89.4 million, which forms part of a wider $200 million flood support package, will support delivery of a range of projects and improvements for the NSW SES, including the following:
- Additional fleet assets, including high clearance vehicles, rescue and storm vehicles, and flood rescue equipment caches to assist with multi-agency response.
- Enhancements to flood rescue training, including more than 80 additional training positions to support NSW SES volunteer training, more multi-agency flood rescue training and exercises each year and the ability to train 1,800 additional flood rescue qualified operators.
- Dedicated staff who will be responsible for establishing a 24/7 flood rescue coordination capability and dedicated support to a multi-agency rescue desk.
- The implementation of a new Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system, which will be aligned to other NSW emergency services.
- Dedicated hazard planning and intelligence cells.
- Enhancements to the way in which we engage with and train spontaneous volunteers.
- Additional staff in regional locations, providing increased support to NSW SES Volunteers and better enabling the NSW SES to harness local knowledge and reach communities quickly in their time of need.
- Enhancements to the agency’s public information and warnings capability, to ensure that communities understand their flood risk, are prepared and get the information they need.
- A statewide recruitment campaign to boost volunteer numbers, particularly in regional and high-risk locations.
Since the start of 2022, NSW SES volunteers have continued to support their communities through ongoing flooding across the state and have responded to around 80,000 requests for assistance across the state and performed almost 4000 flood rescues.
NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York APM welcomed the funding announcement.
“This is a really significant investment for our organisation, which will result in substantial growth of the NSW SES over the next 18 months,” Commissioner York said.
“As part of this funding boost, we will be provided the resources we need to enhance our lead role in flood rescue coordination and training, as well as hiring more staff in regional locations to harness local knowledge and support our volunteers.”
Commissioner York praised the 10,000 volunteers who continue to dedicate their time to serving the community.
“This year we have seen our volunteers continue to step up throughout one of the state’s worst ongoing flooding disasters. Following the devastating events that unfolded in Lismore earlier this year, we have seen town after town inundated with water and thousands of calls for help made to the NSW SES,” Commissioner York said.
“By increasing our fleet of vehicles and vessels, investing in training and providing more local support for our volunteers, we are providing our members with what they need to support their communities.
“There has never been a better time to join the NSW SES, either as a volunteer or with the new staff roles which we will be advertising shortly.”
The NSW Independent Flood Inquiry, led by former NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller and Professor Mary O’Kane, put forward 28 recommendations, which were accepted either in full or in principle by the NSW Government earlier this year.