Onkaparinga SES

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN ( 15:03 :55 ): My question is to the Minister for Emergency Services. Now that the Onkaparinga SES volunteers have voted to wind up the unit, will the minister assure the Onkaparinga residents and the parliament that the road crash rescue will not be compromised due to the removal of the SES-owned truck?

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) ( 15:04 :20 ): I thank the honourable member for his important question. I have been advised that the Onkaparinga SES on 7 March this year held a special meeting, and at that meeting 17 members of the Onkaparinga SES voted to unanimously dissolve the unit.

On Thursday 17 March 2016, the chief officer wrote to all members of the unit advising that in consideration of all the circumstances, including that the unit had been offline for almost two years, and the unanimous decision of the unit’s members to request the unit be dissolved, he had formed the view that a number of actions should be taken, including to place the unit into temporary suspension, have the deputy chief officer work with CFS management to identify which SES should be transferred to the CFS brigades or returned to the SES for reallocation, and disqualify the current membership of all members of the unit. All members have been given 21 days to provide comments and submissions. That 21-day period concluded on 7 April, so only late last week, and the chief officer is now considering those comments that have come back to him.

Only this morning, I am pleased to advise the chamber and the Hon. Mr McLachlan, I had a conversation with the SES chief officer and he advised me that all services that the Onkaparinga SES were undertaking are now being undertaken by other units, and he does not see that there is a dire operational need that is not being met by other services in and around the area. The SES chief remains utterly committed to the provision of services to those people in the southerns suburbs who have been served by the Onkaparinga SES for a number of years.

This is something that I will be monitoring closely. It is certainly this government’s hope and expectation that those services will be maintained in the southern suburbs as best as we possibly can, but at the same time we support the chief officer exercising what is operationally appropriate for him to do to ensure that those services are provided to the community of the southern suburbs.

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