Volunteers play a critical role in the delivery of emergency management across Victoria.
There are over 100,000 emergency management volunteers throughout the State across a wide range of agencies. A community focussed service delivery approach, with volunteers working together with agencies and paid staff, provides the best outcome for Victorian communities.
Through reference to the key principles set down in this Emergency Management Volunteer Statement, the parties commit to use and apply the Statement to strengthen the culture of volunteering in Victoria and build a shared understanding of, and respect for, the critical role that volunteers play in the emergency management sector and community.
The Emergency Management Volunteer Statement:
- Is an agreed commitment between the State of Victoria and emergency management volunteers, from agencies listed in the Emergency Management Manual Victoria;
- Ensures the State of Victoria and the emergency management volunteer agencies will commit to consult with volunteers on matters which affect them, through volunteer engagement arrangements within the emergency management sector, including the Volunteer Consultative Forum, and in line with their agencies’ obligations;
- Is the framework for an enduring commitment between the parties. The Statement will be reviewed as required by the parties or at the end of four years from its date of commencement;
- The parties commit to maintaining and further building emergency management volunteer capacity as required, to plan, prepare, respond and recover from emergencies and build community safety and resilience; and
- Coexists and complements the enduring effect of the CFA Volunteer Charter.
Emergency Management Volunteers:
- Selflessly give their time to protect and help others;
- Are essential to the State’s response before, during and after both routine and major emergencies;
- Are part of their communities and, as such, are fundamental to community safety and resilience;
- Give of their time without expectation of financial reward, but to gain satisfaction from service, achievement, personal development and camaraderie;
- Depend on the goodwill and practical support of their families, friends and employers to enable them to serve;
- Provide their services for the protection of life and property, to create a safer community;
- Work with all emergency management volunteers and paid staff in a mutually respectful and active partnership, having regard to the principles of their agencies, other organisations, government and the community;
- Operate safely and undertake appropriate training and planning to ensure their personal safety and enhance the delivery of services in creating a safer community;
- Are committed to maintaining positive and collaborative relationships with emergency management agencies, government and each other; and
- Bring an extensive and unique range of community and industry skills to Victoria’s emergency management capability.
Emergency Management Volunteer Agencies:
- Recognise, value, respect, promote and support emergency management volunteers who come from widely diverse communities with differing needs and characteristics;
- Recognise and acknowledge that a primary responsibility of agencies’ paid staff is to nurture and encourage volunteers and to facilitate and develop their skills and competencies, and maintain and build volunteer capacity at all levels of emergency management;
- Recognise and acknowledge the value of the time that volunteers provide and ensure that their time is optimally utilised;
- Work with and support a positive integration of paid and volunteer emergency management workers;
- Develop and maintain an organisational culture and organisational relationships that support volunteer engagement in all emergency management functions;
- Ensure that volunteer views, opinions and concerns are considered before adopting any new or changed policies, procedures or approaches that impact on them as volunteers;
- Provide administrative, operational and infrastructure support in a timely manner to enable volunteers to perform their roles safely and effectively with appropriate resources; and
- Commit to maintaining and building individual and overall emergency management volunteer capacity to carry out emergency management roles;
- Recognise and value the unique range of community and industry skills that volunteers provide to emergency management;
- Endeavour to utilise suitably qualified and experienced volunteers in key leadership positions; and
- Recognise the value of volunteers and their local knowledge during emergencies.
The State of Victoria:
- Recognises, values, respects and promotes emergency management volunteers, their families and employers for their contributions to the well-being and safety of Victorian communities;
- Commits to engage and consult with emergency management volunteers and their representative bodies on emergency management issues and matters that affect them, through the Volunteer Consultative Forum and other volunteer engagement arrangements within the emergency management sector taking into account the recognition of the importance of volunteers in Victoria’s emergency management arrangements under the Emergency Management Act 2013; and
- Will ensure that the commitments and principles in this statement are supported across government and by emergency management volunteer agencies.
The Emergency Management Commissioner:
- Commits to perform the functions having regard to the fundamental importance of the role that volunteers play in the performance of emergency management functions in Victoria
These commitments are made within a legislative and policy framework that includes the obligations of the Emergency Management Commissioner and Emergency Management Victoria to have regard to the fundamental importance of the role that volunteers play in the performance of emergency management functions in Victoria, under the Emergency Management Act 2013; the roles of emergency management volunteer agencies under the State Emergency Response Plan and the State Emergency Recovery Plan; and the principles and obligations agreed between the Victorian Government, CFA and its Volunteers set out in the CFA Volunteer Charter 2011 and the Country Fire Authority Act 1958.
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