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Minister pays tribute

Published 06/12/2013

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells has marked International Volunteer Day (December 5) by paying tribute to Victoria’s emergency services volunteers.

"Volunteers play a critical role in Victoria’s emergency response, relief and recovery efforts," Mr Wells said.

"On behalf of all Victorians, I’d like to thank you for your hard work, commitment and dedication to making Victoria a better place."

Victoria has more than 100,000 emergency services volunteers who work tirelessly for CFA, SES, Lifesaving Victoria and other organisations.

Mr Wells said the Victorian Coalition Government is proud of the vital work performed by our volunteers

"Their participation in Victoria's emergency management arrangements is one of the major strengths of the state's system and must be acknowledged, encouraged, and enhanced," Mr Wells said.

"As members of community-based groups, volunteers are at the centre of building resilience in their communities."

Mr Wells also acknowledged the role of families and supporters in assisting Victoria’s volunteers perform their duties.

"It is important to acknowledge the families and supporters of our volunteers on International Volunteers Day who make it possible for them to put in the hours they do as volunteers," Mr Wells said.

In the 2013-14 Budget, the Coalition Government committed a record $12.23 million to the Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program (VESEP). The program provides grants to emergency services volunteer organisations to assist with purchases of additional equipment.

"The Coalition Government is committed to ensuring our volunteers have the tools and resources they need to perform their duties and respond effectively to emergencies, whether it be floods, storms or bushfires," Mr Wells said.

"VESEP is a fantastic program. This financial year the Coalition Government will deliver a record 300 grants to various organisations across the state.

"Emergency services volunteers are the backbone of Victoria’s emergency response so we want to ensure they have the best equipment and resources available to help them carry out their vital work."

As part of broader reforms foreshadowed in the White Paper on Emergency Management Reform, Mr Wells said the Coalition Government recently launched Victoria’s first emergency management Volunteer Consultative Forum.

"The forum provides Victoria’s emergency management volunteers with a voice so they can provide direct feedback to the Coalition Government on issues affecting their work," Mr Wells said.

"The key to the success of these reforms is ongoing consultation with emergency management volunteers and recognition of their local knowledge."