Video Footage Below
Lauren KATHAGE (Yan Yean) (19:12):
My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Emergency Services, and the action I seek is for the minister to visit the Whittlesea SES unit. As the member for Mordialloc said, today is Wear Orange Wednesday, and I do that proudly. It is a chance for the community to demonstrate our thankfulness to SES volunteers who so generously give their time to help people at some of the hardest moments in their lives. My thanks go to the Whittlesea SES unit, who have demonstrated their commitment to our community. People from all walks of life make up their ranks. One of their most active members is Micaela Hill, who runs a construction business with her husband. You can imagine somebody so busy, and yet they give so much of their time to help people in floods, in storms and in other emergency situations.
Whittlesea SES is ably led by Gary Doorbar ESM. Each time I drive along the Wallan-Whittlesea Road I pass the sideways stump of an incredibly large tree which came down during the difficult weather events we had at the end of the year. Gary was nearby responding to other incidents and was there to assist and remove the tree. I happened to be at the unit at the time. I had dropped in to check in on the volunteers who had been spending many hours looking after people in our community. So every time I pass the tree stump I think of Gary out in the pouring rain with a chainsaw and myself in the warmth eating a doughnut, and I remain very thankful to the Whittlesea SES for all they do.
They recently ran a recruitment drive, which had good interest from our community. The number of events the unit is responding to each year is growing because we as a community are growing. This places additional strain on volunteers, meaning they have to turn out to more and more incidents. We want to keep our volunteers fresh and ready. However, there is a constraint on the unit whereby the size of their training and meeting rooms means that they cannot expand much more in terms of volunteers. It is important that we support them to ensure that their volunteers are looked after, appropriately trained and appropriately rotated, so that they are there for us when we need them. It is the least we can do. I ask the minister to join me in visiting the unit to view the facilities and hear from them about the constraints they face.