Queensland Wants a New Emergency Service Volunteer Strategy

By Andrew Heaton

(image source: CAVFA)

Queensland is seeking a new strategy to attract fire and emergency service volunteers as the state seeks to contemporary methods of encouraging people to give their time to keep the state safe in an age of a time poor society impacted by digital distraction and competing priorities.

Launched by Police, Fire and Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan, the Volunteerism Strategy Discussion Paper seeks feedback in regard to sixteen questions which ask volunteers and perspective volunteers about:

  • How fire and emergency service volunteerism can be made to be more flexible and inclusive
  • How technology and digital tools can better assist the fire brigade
  • How fire and emergency services can strengthen engagement with corporations and the community to better support corporate volunteerism and community volunteerism
  • How local knowledge can be shared and traditional service delivery models can be updated.

According to the paper, Queensland faces challenges from an emergency service perspective in terms of maintaining levels of service to cater for a growing population, particularly in the south-east.

Simultaneously, it said, social and economic changes had let to a society in which many were increasingly time poor and beset by competing priorities, and were thus limited in their ability to commit to traditional models of volunteering.

In a statement, Ryan said the importance of the state’s 42,000 emergency service volunteer workforce should not be underestimated.

Nevertheless, he said challenges to traditional models of volunteerism, such as an ageing population, time-poor society, digital distraction and competing priorities, meant providing an ongoing and sustainable emergency volunteer service was becoming increasingly difficult.

“This has highlighted the need to explore and invest in more flexible strategies to ensure we have the systems in place to attract, retain and support our volunteers both now and in the future,” he said.

“The Volunteerism Strategy discussion paper is Queensland’s chance to have a conversation about how to implement a sustainable and robust volunteer model that meets the needs of communities into the future.”

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