The State Government has given the go ahead for the Western Australian State Emergency Service (WASES) to become a separate department from July 1, this year.
Emergency Services Minister Bob Wiese said the move to cut WASES from the WA Police Service would improve the management and support provided to members of the volunteer emergency organisation.
Mr Wiese said the separation of the two services would also reduce the current duplication of administrative procedures, create better opportunities for WASES to utilise its resources and provide training opportunities for the volunteers.
"It is an important step forward in the development of the State Emergency Service and it is a separation that is being carried out at no additional cost to the Government," he said.
Mr Wiese said that since the creation of WASES in 1959, the organisation had been amalgamated with several larger `parent' organisations, which had included Public Works, local government, the Premier's Department and Police Services.
"WASES is a volunteer-based organisation with over 2,000 members and it requires an adaptable and flexible structure to provide support and assistance to the largely volunteer workforce," he said.
"In the past, WASES has been bound with the policies and procedures of these parent organisations, which had restricted volunteers having sufficient input into the management of the service."
Mr Wiese said making WASES a separate department would provide the service with direct access to the Emergency Services Minister for funding and would assist in the allocation of adequate resources to the volunteers.
"As one of the State's main emergency agencies, it is important that funding and resources allocated to WASES can be distributed according to its own priorities, rather than on the directions of other authorities," he said.
The Minister said WASES already had a strong working relationship with all emergency response agencies and local government and this would be strengthened by the separation of the two services.
He said the current WASES director, Russell Dyson, would act as the chief executive officer during the transitional period until the position was advertised and filled on a permanent basis.
Media contact: Mark Thompson 222 9595 / 322 2311