An early warning alert system developed by the Fire and Emergency Services Authority will be considered for introduction nationally, Emergency Services Minister John Kobelke said today.
The announcement comes after State, Territory and Federal Emergency Services Ministers met in Canberra and agreed to examine the State Alert system, developed in Western Australian by FESA and WA Police, for consideration for introduction as a national system.
“State Alert allows emergency services to send text and recorded messages to home telephones, mobiles and email addresses to warn of natural disasters, approaching bushfires, cyclones, tsunamis and other emergencies,” Mr Kobelke said.
“Next month, States and Territories will come to Perth to see how State Alert operates.
“Importantly, the Australian Emergency Management Council of national and federal Ministers agreed that WA’s model should have access to telephone data to enable the system to send emergency warning messages and calls to subscribers in a danger area.”
The Minister said another important issue - that of greater recognition of emergency volunteer personnel - would be investigated further. A report will be prepared by the Commonwealth for the November meeting of the Australian Emergency Management Council in Sydney on ways to recruit, retain and recognise the invaluable work of emergency service volunteers.
Part of WA’s push for recognition of volunteers is for them to be granted a tax rebate.
“We have been pushing for the past three years to have recognition for the valuable work volunteers provide free to the community,” Mr Kobelke said.
“Emergency service volunteers are always ready to help the community in times of cyclone, flood and fire, as well as attend road crashes, house fires and other emergencies.
“They do this in their own time, often being called away from work or in the middle of the night to help others.
“We have the support of all the States and recognition from the Federal Government that support should be given to these community-spirited workers for the personal time they commit to training and attending emergencies.
“We have done a lot of work on the provision of a tax rebate and it is pleasing to see WA’s efforts have been acknowledged and are being examined, but it is frustrating there will be a further delay in providing some solid support.
“Despite this, we will continue to push for a uniform tax rebate for emergency volunteers, especially those who give outstanding service in WA and across the nation.”
The 2006 report, ‘Volunteering in Australia: How we can help’, supported a tax rebate for volunteers in emergency work as an appropriate way of helping reimburse and recognise their work.
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