Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Minister for Emergency Services; Innovation and the Digital Economy; Medical Research; Volunteering

    Renewed Volunteer Advisory Committees to provide direction on the future of emergency volunteer service in WA

    20/05/2023 12:00 AM

    • Emergency services Volunteer Advisory Committees re-established
    • Greater representation from women and regionally based volunteers
    • Bush Fire Service VAC formed in a Western Australian first
    • New sustainability strategy launched to future-proof volunteer services

    Advisory bodies for each of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services’ five emergency volunteering services have been established under a revised and revitalised format following a review process.

    The Volunteer Advisory Committees (VACs) are more diverse than ever before, with members from all ages and regions bringing a wide range of skills and experiences to the table.

    Each committee is equally represented by six male and six female members, appointed to a three-year term.

    The committees - representing Marine Rescue Western Australia, Bush Fire Service, Volunteer Fire and Emergency Services, Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services and State Emergency Service - advise the Emergency Services Minister and Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner on matters that affect their services.

    More than 26,000 volunteers from the five emergency volunteering services work year-round to keep communities safe in one of the largest jurisdictions in the world. 

    This is the first time WA’s Bush Fire Service has formed its own VAC since committees were established for all other emergency volunteer services in 2013.

    The VACs will meet directly with the Minister, FES Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners throughout the year and discuss strategic matters important to the future of their respective services.

    To further support volunteers, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services has launched a new strategy to combat emerging issues impacting the sustainability of volunteer services. 

    Built off two years of consultation with hundreds of emergency services volunteers and staff, the Volunteer Sustainability Strategy 2023-2026 ‘A Vital Future’ will help future-proof volunteer emergency services by supporting youth engagement, encouraging diversity and developing leadership skills.

    Comments attributed to Emergency Services and Volunteering Minister Stephen Dawson:

    “Volunteers are the lifeblood of our State’s emergency services, especially in regional and remote areas. Each time a disaster threatens lives and homes in Western Australia we are reminded of their invaluable contribution. 

    “Our volunteers are incredibly selfless. Just one example is the fact that more than 120 were deployed to assist in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia during wide-scale flooding last year.

    One of my priorities since becoming Emergency Services Minister has been to renew and revitalise the Voluntary Advisory Committees.

    “These revitalised Voluntary Advisory Committees will have a diverse group of voices and opinions at the table and ensure our emergency volunteering services attract more Western Australians.”