Emergency Service Volunteers

I would like to bring to the attention of the House and the Australian people the great work done by volunteers of St John Ambulance services in the south-west of Western Australia and the electorate of Forrest. St John’s has nine purely volunteer subcentres in the region including: Augusta, Boyanup, Brunswick Junction, Capel, Donnybrook, Dunsborough, Harvey, Margaret River and Nannup. They also manage three joint volunteer career subcentres in Australind, Busselton and Collie and one purely career substation in Bunbury.

The subcentres have 367 volunteers in total, all of whom are providing an outstanding and magnificent service to their local communities. In total nine of the 13 substations offer first aid training, and they have trained over 9,500 people from the south-west in first aid. All substations except Bunbury also offer volunteers officer training.  I would like to congratulate and thank all the St John Ambulance volunteers from the south-west for their outstanding contribution. In the financial year of 2013-14, they contributed 184,697 hours of their own time to support their community, averaging 503 hours per volunteer.

As the daughter of long-term volunteer and St John Ambulance life member at Brunswick Junction, I am directly aware of the sort of commitment to the community this effort takes. I would also like to thank the firefighters who have volunteered their time at the Northcliffe, Waroona Boddington and other fires throughout the south-west. They have our greatest gratitude and respect for their efforts. Across the south-west will we have 570 volunteer fire and rescue personnel, 29 specific volunteer fire personnel, 4,934 local bushfire service volunteers, 294 SES volunteers and 300 marine rescue volunteers. Including St John Ambulance, that is 6,494 volunteers in all of these areas who look after our local community.

In this House today, I am very proud to acknowledge their efforts and I salute all their work. I know these are all very dedicated people. When we look at these emergency services, these are vital, particularly in rural and regional areas. They save people’s lives, they protect property and they put their own lives at risk frequently.

None of us in this nation can underestimate the value of these volunteers. The St John Ambulance people do an extraordinary job. I have seen this firsthand. I watch every time I see the ambulances go out, and in my community mostly they are all volunteers. They do an outstanding job.