State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers in the North Coast Region had plenty to celebrate on International Volunteer Day, receiving nearly $20,000 worth of new equipment as part of a successful partnership with Energy Queensland and Powerlink Queensland.

Volunteers from the Bundaberg and Fraser Coast units gathered on the Bargara foreshore to gratefully receive the equipment as part of the Energising SES Equipment Program, which will see units across the region receive a total of $41,500 worth of equipment. 

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Assistant Commissioner Gary McCormack said the new equipment ensured the region’s orange army would be well geared to face disasters during the upcoming severe weather season.

“Since 2015, we have enjoyed a great relationship with Energy Queensland and Powerlink Queensland and today was a fantastic example of the support this partnership provides,” Mr McCormack said.

“Volunteers received brand new power tools including battery-powered chainsaws, defibrillators, battery powered lighting, stretchers and thermal imaging equipment.

“This new equipment will better enable our heroes in orange to perform some of the roles they are called on to do, including storm damage response and search and rescue.”

Energy Queensland Executive General Manager Community, Customer and Corporate Affairs Michael Dart commended local SES groups for their commitment to the community and support they provide Ergon crews in times of disaster. 

“The Wide Bay community is no stranger to natural disasters and, from personal experience living in Bundaberg during Oswald, I can say there’s no more reassuring sight in such circumstances than a sea of SES volunteers helping us get through,” Mr Dart said.

“And while there are plenty of people who thank the SES on behalf of the entire community, I am here to say thanks, in the form of providing new emergency equipment, for the incredible support they provide Ergon and Energex crews during times of disaster.

“Because every time they assist our crews clear debris from a road or guide people safely around a fallen powerline, they’re assisting us to restore power faster in turn allowing the community to recover more rapidly.”

Mr McCormack said the handover was timely on International Volunteer Day.

“The theme this year is ‘volunteering for an inclusive future’, which perfectly represents the SES in the North Coast Region,” he said.

“This is an inclusive and diverse group of people who come from different backgrounds, genders, ethnicities and upbringings, all for one cause – to give back to their communities.

“I commend them for giving up their time and devoting themselves to making Queensland communities more resilient.”