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Victoria’s emergency services praised for “exceptional contribution”

Published 05/05/2015

Victorian emergency services staff and volunteers have been widely praised for their work helping NSW SES clean up after record storm and flood events

Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) led a group of 341 emergency service volunteers and staff from across Victoria who, over the past 18 days deployed to pitch in across a storm-ravaged area stretching from Sydney up to the Queensland border.

Representatives from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Country Fire Authority (CFA), Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) and Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) all took part in the operation.

“VICSES volunteers provided expertise in storm and flood response as well as more specialised advanced chainsaw operators and vehicle support” said VICSES Chief Officer Operations Trevor White.

“VICSES volunteers have once again proven themselves to be experienced and committed, undertaking all tasks to the highest standard and assisting others wherever possible.”

“We are extremely grateful to their employers for releasing them and to their families for supporting them whilst they’ve been gone” he said.

A multi-agency team made up of experts in flood intelligence, public information and operational command were also deployed in order to provide essential incident management support to NSW crews.

NSW SES Commissioner Adam Dent has praised Victorian ground crews and incident management team members for the positive way in which they have worked together and completed tasks in a collaborative and efficient manner.  

 “Storms don’t stop at borders and it was a great comfort to know that neither do the volunteers and staff of SES around Australia.  The 350+ contingent of Victoria SES personnel made an exceptional contribution to this effort to what was the largest storm event in NSW SES history” he said.

Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said Victoria's emergency management sector was always willing to lend a hand, whether in fire, or flood and storm operations.  

"The multi-agency assistance offered to NSW in the past few weeks is another great example of putting the skills and dedication within the Victorian emergency management sector to good use," he said.

"Victorians can feel very proud of the way that our people work together to help communities in times of emergency whether in Victoria or with our interstate colleagues."

Victorian Taskforces and Incident Management Teams have been stationed across various parts of NSW including:

  • Western and Northern Sydney Regions including suburbs of Bankston, Parramatta, Horsnby, Warringah, Pittwater, Chatswood, Newport
  • Mid Central Coast Region - Wyong Hunter Region – Newcastle, Lake Macquarie Richmond
  • Tweed Region – Tweed Heads, Murwillumbah, Tweed Coast
  • Clarence Region – Lismore, Grafton

Victoria deployed its first taskforce within 12 hours of receipt of the request from NSW. Throughout this event, NSW SES has received over 22,000 requests for assistance and undertaken over 170 flood rescues due to record breaking weather resulting in heavy rainfall (up to 300mm in parts of NSW) and destructive winds.

As the sun return to NSW and the rain eases, the last of six Victorian taskforces will return to Melbourne Tullamarine Airport on Wednesday 6 May 10:05am.

Victoria SES volunteers hailing from the following units were involved in the deployment: