The Corangamite Shire’s decision to cut SES funding by 50 per cent from $53,400 to $26,700 in its 2016-17 Budget will leave local units dipping into their own pockets until a longer-term solution is found.
VICSES Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Griffin said he was disappointed the shire was not honouring the 1989 funding agreement, where local councils agreed to match the Victorian State Government funding.
“Our volunteers are highly trained and dedicated to making our communities safer. As I’ve said before, our view, along with the Victorian State Government, is that this agreement should be honoured by local governments.
“VICSES is working with Corangamite Shire to gain their support for a state-wide agreement to fund SES units in the 2017-18 Budget.
“This funding cut means the five SES units in the shire will need to use their savings to meet local expenditure until a longer-term solution is found – but these savings are just that, savings, and won’t be sustained long term.
“We have also been working with the Victorian State Government and the Municipal Association of Victoria to establish a funding model that can be sustained into the future,” Mr Griffin said.
VICSES volunteers are dedicated to their mission of making their local communities safer through preparedness and response activities for flood, storm, earthquake and tsunami emergencies, as well as road crashes.
The Victorian State Government pays annual municipal subsidies to assist volunteer units in meeting operational costs. It is our expectation that local governments match the subsidy paid to volunteer units on a dollar for dollar basis.
VICSES units have traditionally been dependent on local government for unit accommodation and funding. This was confirmed in an agreement signed by Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) and the Victorian State Government in 1989.