Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) is continuing to work with both State and Local Government to ensure a sustainably funded future for the organisation and a good result for the community, according to VICSES CEO Stephen Griffin.
VICSES is the state’s control agency for flood, storm, earthquake and tsunami, working with the community to prepare for these hazards and providing emergency assistance.
This service is provided by about 4,500 volunteers in 152 units across the state.
The Majority of VICSES’ funding – about $45 million per annum – is provided by the State Government. Local government is also a strong supporter of their local units, contributing anywhere from $6,000 to $15,000 to each depending on local arrangements.
Cardinia Shire Council this week announced it will cease paying insurance costs for Pakenham SES’ vehicles from July.
Mr Griffin said that the Wellington Shire, Central Goldfields, Mitchell Shire and Campaspe Shire Councils had also written to VICSES recently, indicating they may also have to re-examine the funding they provide.
“Local government has been hugely supportive of SES units for more than 30 years by providing land, buildings and maintenance for SES Units, as well as providing regular financial support and gearing them up to provide flood and storm response to the community,” he said.
“Many local government have been very generous, however, several have flagged that they may not be able to match the current level of funding and support to SES units that they have provided in the past. In their correspondence, councils have eluded to rate capping as a driver of their need to reduce funding.”
"This is likely to put SES units under pressure to come up with the funds in order to maintain the same level of service to the community”.
“SES is currently speaking with both State and Local Government to try and come up with a solution to the shortfall of funding and how best to move forward".