Bell's bill introduced to give emergency volunteers a voice

Published by The Border Watch

Published Friday, August 2, 2019 | Share:

PARLIAMENTARY RECOGNITION: State Emergency Service Mount Gambier unit manager Simon Poel and Country Fire Service operations captain Bob Davis celebrate the introduction of a bill which will move both emergency service charters into legislation.

MEMBER for Mount Gambier Troy Bell has successfully introduced a bill in State Parliament which will give emergency service volunteers the right to have their say on matters directly affecting their work. 

The Fire and Emergency Services (Volunteer Charters) Amendment Bill was introduced into the Lower House by the Independent MP and formally passed on Wednesday. 

The Bill was introduced in the Upper House by Greens MLC Tammy Franks last year, following identical Bills failing to pass both Houses in both 2012 and 2015. 

Mr Bell said the passing of the Bill, which moves both Country Fire Service (CFS) and State Emergency Service (SES) volunteer charters into legislation, means volunteers will receive parliamentary recognition. 

“There are around 15,000 volunteers across South Australia performing a lifesaving role in our community who have waited for years to be formally recognised,” he said. 

“This legislation creates a requirement for the government to consult with those CFS and SES volunteers on matters that directly affect them, which is basic common sense.” 

Meeting with SES Mount Gambier unit manager Simon Poel and CFS operations captain Bob Davis this week, Mr Bell was able to personally deliver the good news. 

“The value of the work CFS and SES volunteers provide is immeasurable,” he said. 

“These volunteers give their time freely, equalling thousands of hours every year, to attend emergencies and be there for local communities in times of need, while their own lives and work gets put on hold,” he said. 

“The volunteer charters were developed to provide a framework for all parties to work in partnership together, for the wellbeing and safety of the community,” he said. 

“This is a measure of respect for those who protect our communities.”

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