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SES seeks to give volunteers voice following ICAC inquiry

Saturday, 15th March, 2014

Chairman of the NSW SES Volunteers Association Charlie Moir with Acting Commissioner Jim Smith at the Trades Hall yesterday. PICTURE: Darrin Manuel Chairman of the NSW SES Volunteers Association Charlie Moir with Acting Commissioner Jim Smith at the Trades Hall yesterday. PICTURE: Darrin Manuel

By Nick Gibbs

An Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigation into the NSW SES has provided the catalyst for a statewide roadshow designed to give volunteers a voice on the future of the organisation.

The NSW SES Volunteers Association developed the concept with the support of SES management.

The first meeting was held at the Broken Hill Trades Hall yesterday afternoon.

Chairman of the Volunteers Association, Charlie Moir, said the main priority of the project was to give SES volunteers the chance to be heard.

“There are two things I’m hoping to get out of the roadshows; number one is for volunteers to have a voice in the future of the SES,” he said.

“Number two is hoping the SES management listen to what they have to say.”

Mr Moir said having the collective opinion of a large number of members would have more pull with management compared to single requests.

However, he stressed that it was not meant to cause friction among volunteers and staff.

“The roadshow is not to cause debate. It’s all about listening.

“It’s not just about the bad things, it’s about the good things as well.”

Acting Commissioner Jim Smith agreed that parts of the ICAC inquiry were upsetting but said the SES was committed to addressing each view expressed.

“It is a big commitment, but it’s one we want to do,”  he said.

“(The volunteers) are the most critical part of the service.”

Mr Smith said one of the challenges would be responding to individual requests specific to certain regions while maintaining the consistency needed when dealing with large scale events requiring resources from across the country.

He was confident the results would leave the organisation well poised.

“It will help us shape the future of the SES” he said.

“My role is at the bottom of the pyramid, offering support to staff, volunteers and wider community.”  

All workshops are run by an individual facilitator with information recorded and added to a report for the Commissioner and NSW Emergency

Services Minister Michael Gallacher.

A total of 21 meetings will be held across the State in coming weeks with the results expected to be compiled by early July.

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