Govt looks to support emergency volunteers

SUPPORTING volunteers who turn out to help in a crisis is a key focus of a new state government consultation.

Communities across NSW regularly band together to support each other through volunteering with emergency services organisations such as the State Emergency Service, the Rural Fire Service, and spontaneous volunteering when natural disasters hit.

Five million volunteers in NSW contribute about 1.5 billion hours each year, and the face of volunteering is changing, with existing participants growing older or having less time to help, and the growing frequency of disasters also increasing demand for volunteers.

The government wants to know when and how NSW residents sign up to volunteer programs, and why they choose to spontaneously volunteer in the face of a crisis or recovery.

It also wants to know about volunteer experiences, motivations and any barriers to joining, to help it enhance recruitment, retention and recognition programs.

Emergency services agencies including the SES, RFS and Fire and Rescue NSW are being consulted along with volunteers across the state, with everyone able to have their say online.

The Independent and Parliamentary Flood Inquiries identified a need to strengthen emergency services volunteering and will inform a report that will address: emergency management volunteering and trends, including particular focus on regional and remote areas; opportunities to better integrate spontaneous volunteers into the emergency management framework and; how well placed we are to meet projected future demand for volunteers.

People are encouraged to have their say by 4 August 2023 at:

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