SES face funding challenges

Castlemaine SES joined a convoy of SES vehicles, traveling over the Bolte Bridge to raise awareness about the need for sustainable funding.

On Monday, members of the Castlemaine State Emergency Service took one of their unit vehicles to Melbourne, joining a convoy of 56 other SES vehicles, traveling over the Bolte Bridge to raise awareness about the need for sustainable funding for the Victoria SES.

The past three years have been the busiest in SES history, a trend expected to continue due to factors like climate change and population growth.

In the past year, SES volunteers have responded to over 33,000 requests for assistance. However, the annual funding they receive covers less than half of their operating expenses.

To address this funding gap, VICSES volunteers have proposed transforming the Fire Services Levy into an Emergency Services Levy to provide sustainable funding for the SES without reducing the funds allocated to the fire services.

The Castlemaine SES provides critical services across the shire, including road crash rescue, flood and storm response along with assisting ambulances with difficult casualty extrication’s and searching for missing persons. Despite these vital contributions, the unit faces significant funding challenges. Out of their four vehicles they use, three were purchased through local fundraising efforts and grants. The unit now urgently needs to replace its aging Rescue Support Vehicle – at a cost of over $280,000.

Volunteers rely on raising funds at the Castlemaine Farmers Market and through donations.

These donations help fund vehicle replacements, pay for maintenance and repair of the unit’s headquarters and also cover basic operational costs such as power, water, gas, fuel, insurance, and equipment servicing.

Local residents can visit if they would like to show their support for sustainable SES funding.

Castlemaine Mail
Your source of independent local news in the Mount Alexander Shire.