Election 2013 Western Australia March 9

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Labor News

WA Labor will act for formal recognition of emergency volunteers

Labor Statements February 26

A McGowan Labor Government will establish a Volunteer Charter to formally recognise the contribution Western Australia's 50,000 emergency volunteers make to the State, Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Margaret Quirk said today.

Ms Quirk said the Charter would be enshrined in legislation to acknowledge the vital role emergency volunteers played in the community.

"Western Australia benefits greatly from the goodwill and generosity of volunteers," Ms Quirk said.

"There are about 50,000 emergency volunteers who make an invaluable contribution to our State and deserve to have their rights and needs enshrined in legislation.

"Volunteers remain the core strength of our emergency volunteer groups including bushfire brigades, Volunteer Emergency Service (VES), the State Emergency Service (SES), Volunteer Fire and Rescue (VFRS), the Volunteer Marine Rescue Service (VMRS) and the Metropolitan Volunteer Sea Rescue group.

"Other groups like the Salvation Army, Red Cross and St John Ambulance may also be prescribed depending on the nature of an emergency.

"All of these groups work with government agencies and often work shoulder to shoulder with career personnel.

"WA Labor will formally acknowledge the significant role played by emergency volunteers and recognise that government has certain responsibilities in managing, training, undertaking consultation and keeping volunteers as safe as possible through the provision of adequate resources and equipment."

Ms Quirk said the Emergency Management Act 2005 was currently under review but many volunteers felt isolated from this process, believing their views were not being considered of value by the Barnett Government.

"WA Labor respects the tremendous contribution made by our volunteers and we will legislate the Volunteer Charter to guarantee better meaningful consultation and conditions for emergency volunteers," she said.

"Volunteer Charters exist in other States and it is time Western Australia caught up."

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