Last week I met with the Victoria SES CEO Stephen Griffin and volunteers Stephen Bakker and Emily McCullagh for a briefing on the fantastic work that the SES does in the south-west region. In the period between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2021 volunteers in the south-west region responded to 6033 call-outs—20 per cent more than the two previous years. The SES are the lead agency for many Victorian emergency situations, including road rescues, which the SES members have a high level of training and skill in, and many, many lives have been saved thanks to the quick and skillful work of the SES volunteers in extracting people from a vehicle. I was told that the SES volunteers are called the Swiss army knife of Victoria’s emergency services because they have the tools and the skills to do anything and everything.
We have seen this in my electorate with the SES members from one of the four units in Warrnambool, Port Fairy, Portland and Heywood responding to everything from floods to damage caused by high winds through to road accidents in extraordinary conditions. Our communities would be lost without the SES volunteers. They are the ones who are out there in all kinds of weather keeping us safe and helping the community recover from all sorts of incidents. I again put on the record my 100 per cent support for our SES volunteers, and I will always do everything in my power to ensure they have everything they need when they need it.