Government platform for 100,000 unpaid lifesavers
QUEENSLAND'S volunteer firefighters and surf lifesavers have welcomed the establishment of the state's Emergency Volunteer Advisory Forum.
Representatives from the Rural Fire Service, State Emergency Service, Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ), Volunteering Queensland and other groups will keep the State Government abreast of the needs of Queensland's 100,000 unpaid community protectors.
The forum's formation follows last month's call by the Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland for the introduction of a Volunteer Respect Act.
"This forum is one of the key components of the Emergency Volunteer Respect Act," RFBAQ general manager Justin Choveaux said.
"The old forum had not met for six years and the combined voices of almost 100,000 emergency volunteers in Queensland has not been heard since 2011 when Anna Bligh was premier."
Surf Life Saving Queensland CEO John Brennan said the new forum would "allow for the sharing of innovations and learnings".
"As the largest volunteer organisation in Queensland, we see the important role it would play with government in managing the need of emergency service volunteers," Mr Brennan said.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Katarina Carroll said the forum would be "invaluable in providing a platform for all volunteer emergency service organisations to access government".
"The establishment of the forum demonstrates the support for emergency services volunteers and the work they do in our communities across Queensland," she said.
"Our Rural Fire Service and State Emergency Service volunteers do remarkable work and this will further strengthen their relationships with other volunteer emergency service organisations into the future."
Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan said he expected the forum's first meeting to be held in the next few weeks.
"The establishment of the forum will provide for a collaborative approach to enable effective policy decision making by all of our volunteers together with the Palaszczuk Government," Mr Ryan said. - ARM NEWSDESK