SES pay plan slammed

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Natalie Wynne wynne@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

A CALL to pay State Emerg-ency Ser­vice work­ers has been crit­i­cised by North Queens­land disas­ter man­age­ment co-or­di­na­tor Bob Robin­son as a scheme that would ‘‘ cre­ate a mon­ster’’.

The re­ac­tion comes in re­sponse to a pro­posal by Townsville City Coun­cil’s Com­mu­nity Safety chair­man Cr Dale Last to pay mem­bers in or­der to boost vol­un­teer num­bers. Cr Last said the SES vol­un­teers could be paid in a set-up sim­i­lar to the Army Re­serve to en­sure crews were ready and will­ing to go in emer­gency sit­u­a­tions.

Mr Robin­son said pay­ing one vol­un­teer or­gan­i­sa­tion would only leave oth­ers in the dark.

‘‘ If you pay the SES then you’re go­ing to have to pay the Ru­ral Fire Brigade, the coast­guard, life­savers and the mil­lion other vol­un­teers that do it ( the job) for noth­ing,’’ he said. ‘‘ Where do you stop? ‘‘ Peo­ple in­volved al­ready will see that the gov­ern­ment

If you pay the SES then you’re go­ing to have to pay the Ru­ral Fire Brigade, the coast­guard, life­savers and the mil­lion other vol­un­teers that do it for noth­ing

‘‘ Aus­tralians are good at vol­un­teer­ing, they vol­un­teer be­cause of the old Aus­tralian say­ing, ‘ help your mate’,’’ he said.

‘‘ You pos­si­bly get the peo­ple there then for the wrong rea­sons . . . look­ing at it as purely a form of in­come.

‘‘ The gov­ern­ment is bet­ter off sub­si­dis­ing those who have to leave work – like the army re­serve – in the event of a de­clared disas­ter.’’

Mr Robin­son said al­though the re­cent weather had high­lighted a lack of vol­un­teers, the com­mu­nity was self­suf­fi­cient enough to deal with smaller prob­lems on its own. ‘‘ We’re miss­ing the fact that the com­mu­nity can look af­ter it­self in many ways, for any com­mu­nity to rely on a par­tic­u­lar or­gan­i­sa­tion is re­ally push­ing the ex­pec­ta­tions,’’ he said.

Mr Robin­son said now was the per­fect chance for peo­ple to come for­ward and vol­un­teer their time in the ultimate show of mate­ship.

‘‘ If they’ve got time and they can more for­mally put them­selves out to as­sist in their com­mu­nity then they need to look at SES, and ru­ral fieries and give their time to learn the skills of that or­gan­i­sa­tion,’’ he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.