Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Questions without notice and ministers statements

Ministers statements: National Volunteer Week

Ministers statements: National Volunteer Week

Jaclyn SYMES (Northern Victoria – Attorney-General, Minister for Emergency Services) (12:10): I rise to update the house today – obviously I have pre-empted it with my dressing – about the ongoing support for our amazing SES volunteers. Today I, along with many people in the chamber, am proudly wearing orange, and I have a special shout-out for Mrs Tyrrell, who I think takes the prize in relation to orange today. Congratulations, Mrs Tyrrell.

Members interjecting.

Jaclyn SYMES: Lee has done it before; she is new. It is Wear Orange Wednesday, part of National Volunteer Week, and it is a day to thank the thousands of SES volunteers from across the country and particularly here in the state of Victoria.

I want to begin by acknowledging that first responders had to attend a horrific collision in Eynesbury yesterday – just devastating. Bacchus Marsh VICSES units responded with FRV and CFA. Melton, Wyndham and Sunbury VICSES units were also on the scene. I just cannot imagine how hard yesterday was for them. It is certainly a challenging time for that community and that local school.

The past 12 months have been the busiest operational period for VICSES in their history since they have been established, with dedicated volunteers responding to over 46,000 requests for assistance. Activity included responding to floods, storms and calls for help from interstate. Last year’s floods saw over 17,000 requests for assistance. The most, as I said, in their history were in that period. I am proud that our government has continued to support the amazing work of the SES, including in last year’s budget, which provided $28 million to maintain facilities and upgrade priority vehicles, and landmarks tonight in Melbourne and across the state will be lit up orange in recognition of WOW Day.

Volunteering of course is a rewarding experience and a great way to learn new skills, connect with people and give back to the local community, particularly in the emergency services space, so I do encourage anyone interested to get along to their local ES organisation, whether it be the SES, CFA, Life Saving Victoria, Marine Search and Rescue or a couple of others. To all of our emergency services volunteers across Victoria, thank you.