BUSH FIRES FLOODS STORMS CYCLONES Australia's Emergency Service Volunteers

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Prime Minister Mr. Scott Morrison

The Australian Government should introduce a medal and riband (ribbon) within the Australian Honours and Awards system to recognise the enormous and selfless duty to the Australian people by Australia’s unpaid emergency service volunteers.

Australia’s unpaid emergency service volunteers within the State Emergency Services, Rural Fire Services, Country Fire Authority and Country Fire Services respond to emergency calls twenty-four hours a day every day of the year.  They attend regular training on a weekly basis to maintain their skills.

These unpaid emergency service volunteers respond to fires, provide rescue at road crashes, rescue people in floods and storms and assist Police in searching for people lost.  They not only respond to emergencies in their own area but respond interstate to work and assist in major emergencies such as  major  bush fires, floods, cyclones etc., usually under very critical and life threatening conditions and indeed emergency service volunteers have been killed and seriously injured during emergency operations and this has been the case many times over many years.

The emergency service volunteers work together in all situations to support each other.  In fires the SES work in support of the fire fighter volunteers on the fire grounds and in times of floods, storms, cyclones, etc., these volunteer fire fighters support the SES volunteers.

I specifically mention unpaid emergency service volunteers because each of these organisations has fulltime paid employees for whom adequate financial recompense is made.

The work provided twentyfours a day every day of the year by these unpaid emergency service volunteers could never be supported and provided by the Australian Government.

I recommend these unpaid emergency service volunteers be eligible for the issue of an Australian Emergency Service Volunteer medal with the Australian Honours and Awards System following ten (10) years service. 

This medal would not be a long service medal rather a medal for service.  The medal would not carry any Post Nominals.  This medal would not be confused with or replace the National Medal.  This medal would only be awarded to unpaid emergency service volunteers.

In recent years the Australian Government has introduced the Anniversary of National Service Medal to all men who served under the National Service Schemes from 1951 to 1972, and the Australian Defence Medal for four (4) years service in the Australian Defence Force in peace time service and backdated the medal for issue for all Defence Force personnel from 1947 onwards. The Government also instituted the National Police Medal for all Police for 15 years service for their special role in the community.  This National Police Medal is issued along with the National Medal.

Surely our unpaid emergency service volunteers deserve to be recognized by our Australian Honours and Awards System for their service on behalf of the people of Australia.

The medal should be of the standard medal size and the riband (ribbon) should contain the colours of Red representing fire service, and Orange representing SES services. The bands of colour in the riband could then be separated by a thin yellow stripe in representation of the Wattle Flower of Australia.

Charles Nicholson