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July 6, 2022

Govt promises new SES centre for Lismore with paid staff

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The NSW SES unit in Lismore was severely under resourced when floods devastated the region in early 2022. PIC: NSW SES Lismore

Labor Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin has welcomed the state government’s announcement of a new State Emergency Services Incident Control Centre in the flood-ravaged regional city.

The centre was announced on Monday as part what the government said was its ‘single biggest investment ever’ in the SES, which the Labor opposition then described as a correction for years of underfunding.

The government said it would invest $132.7 million into SES infrastructure, resources and staffing as part of its state budget for the next financial year.

Ms Saffin told media she expected the new centre would be built within the next twelve months and would include extra paid staff as opposed to relying on volunteers.

SES budget breakdown

Premier Dominic Perrottet said via a media release the government was committed to investing in communities ‘to strengthen frontline services right across the State’.

The new funding was to include more than $50 million towards upgrades at 18 critical priority unit facilities.

The premier said two new SES zones would be created, through the division of both the Western and Northern Zones.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the funding would ensure a more targeted and rapid response for future emergency events.

The government said its $132.7 million budget boost included:

  • $58.7 million to upgrade 18 critical priority Unit facilities across the State;
  • $43 million to split the existing Northern Zone into two new zones, and split the existing Western Zone into two new zones;
  • $11.7 million to establish Zone Headquarters in the two new zones with Level 3 Incident Control Centre capabilities;
  • $18 million to upgrade existing Zone Headquarters to Level 3 Incident Control Centres; and
  • $1.3 million to develop a Facility Strategy and complete further detailed business cases to address the remainder of the recommendations from the 2021 independent review.

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  1. Wow , How typical of a defunct, irrelevant and totally incapable state government !
    Pour millions into another decrepit, discredited near useless , already over-funded but still incompetent , geriatric, amateur institution that has out lived it’s use by date, in order to appear proactive in retrospect.
    It is not the level of funding that has rendered the SES incompetent , it is the bureaucratic, rigid and centralised organisation that cannot respond to the obvious and immediate demands of an ongoing emergency.
    They cannot be relied upon and must be superseded by professional response group, that can be held to account for their actions, or as more relevant their inactions.
    No amount of funding can turn a sow’s ear into a silk-purse, Cheers, G”)

    • I agree with you broadly Ken G”.
      But I bet no-one will be ‘held to account for their actions’ for this mal-communication during this biblical-type flood disaster.
      In a couple of years [as usual] everyone will forget .
      Then the media and populace will eulogise with joyous fanfare and great big-noting by SES “brass” on the opening of the new and very plush Lismore SES HQ.
      Problem politically solved – (until next time !)
      If only we could get back to local flood-reporting, it would be far better, more accurate and cheaper – rather than reply on the BOM, far-away decisions and remote gauge data.

  2. The ADF pays their reservists when they are called for duty…also when they have to have mandatory training.

    In being in a Volunteer First Responder Front organisation…when you are called on duty in an emergency and during and emergency you either get paid a respectable wage or you get Federal/State or Local Government Tax Breaks..it could be Rego, Rates, Licences, Income Tax, HEC’s Fees..

  3. Wow, what a waste of money due to a total misunderstanding our coal-face flood problem !
    I bet he bemedaled, gold-braid encrusted/well-paid bureaucrats at SES HQ are already popping their Champaign corks !
    Once the SES was a genuine volunteer body:- we did 4WD, radio/telephone & message procedure, boat-handling and first-aid training in our spare time – training for when we were needed.
    Then politicians put the paid professionals and ‘disaster specialists’ in charge – and we were deemed no longer needed.
    A pity sacking the government appointed guilty is impossible these days…

  4. Get Queensland SES to retrain them. QLD SES actually gets the job done, no matter what it takes. Even QLD Rural Fire and Rescue does a better job and they get a lot less training.

  5. NSW SES is not a ‘volunteer-lead organisation’ – as some media try to portray.
    It has a very top-heavy, well-paid and permanent bureaucracy leading it.
    Please get it right – don’t confuse the public.


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