Visit from SES Commissioner

August 14, 2009

The Bingara SES unit is a very disciplined one, up to date on training and skills, Commissioner of NSW State Emergency Services, Murray Kear, said when he visited Bingara last Friday.  The Commissioner’s visit was part of a two and a half day tour of the 12 units in the region. He was accompanied by Region controller, Steve Martin.

On hand to greet the Commissioner were Gwydir controller, Peter O’Brien, and the Bingara unit controller Peter Turnbull, SES members Lou Faint and Alf King, and Councillor Catherine Egan.

“I welcome the opportunity to visit all units in the North West region, all in two and a half days, visit staff, and make sure units have what they need to fulfill their commitments, Commissioner Kear said.  “It is important to see what is needed, not only in the present, but in five or 10 years,” he said.

In NSW there are 230 units. Commissioner Kear said membership is lower in some pockets, but this is not a great concern, because when an emergency occurs, members from surrounding units attend.

The SES has also instigated a cadet program, where 53 schools have so far signed up. The program involves a 10 week course, after which some students do join the SES.  “It gives kids the skills, and it is both a short and long term strategy,” the Commissioner said.  People can join the SES from the age of 16, and there is no upper age limit on membership.

Commissioner Kear also commented on the relationship between Councils and the SES and RFS, which he described as “very special”.

Bingara Unit controller, Peter Turnbull said it was good to have the Commissioner visit Bingara, which has a membership of 20 people, with a range of skills.  On Saturday, the Commissioner presented a number of awards to recently graduated Indigenous SES members at Boggabilla.