Calls for recognition of SES volunteers' efforts
THEY'RE the unpaid volunteers who work tirelessly through the night in the worst possible conditions to help their community.
This can be anything from a fully-fledged rescue of someone who's trapped in floodwaters to assisting with bushfires and even responding to serious accidents on the roads.
Now, long-time Ballina SES volunteer Charles Nicholson is calling on the Australian Government to recognise the unpaid and selfless efforts of long serving emergency service volunteers.
He said the government should introduce a medal and riband (ribbon) with the Australian Honours and Awards system for volunteers who have given 10 years' service with either the SES, Rural Fire Service or state ambulance services.
Should the Federal Government introduce 10-year service awards for SES volunteers?
This poll ended on 31 July 2015.
Yes. We can't offer enough recognition to SES volunteers.
Yes, but if we're going to do that for the SES we should do it for other volunteers too.
No. There's already plenty of recognition from state governments. The Feds have nothing to do with it.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
"They do all of this work voluntarily. They train ever week, they respond to emergencies at any time, 24 hours a day every day of the year," Mr Nicholson said.
"They still get up at 8am in the morning to go to their normal job.
"When there's a need to, they travel to other areas and interstate, they even go overseas to help out in emergencies such as the large fires in Canada at the moment.
"I just thought, they do all of this work, and there should be some sort of formal recognition from the Australian Government."
Although there is a National Medal and an Australian Emergency Service Volunteer medal, Mr Nicholson said this would not be a long service medal as much as it would be a medal for service.
"There's no way in the world the Australian government could support such an organisation through paid staff to respond to all the emergencies in Australia," he said.
"People like doing it as volunteers but I think if they can keep doing it for ten years, then that's pretty good."
After more than six years of writing to various politicians and government entities, Mr Nicholson has started an online campaign through change.org to help gather momentum.
Mr Nicholson said the medal's riband should be red, white and orange representing the three services involved.
To support the online campaign go to http://www.change.org and search for the title of the petition: Introduce a Medal to Australia's unpaid Emergency Service Volunteers for ten years service.