State Emergency Service bulletin - Public Service Association

State Emergency Service bulletin

COVID policy

Consultation on the amended COVID Policy closed on Monday. Sixty-five members provided feedback, evenly split across staff and volunteers. Roughly 50 per cent want the vaccination mandate to remain. Further updates are expected shortly.


In response to the very significant flooding events in the past 18 months, the NSW Government allocated $102.7m for fleet, offices, assets, boats, drones etc. and to hire 70 ongoing roles, mainly for regional zones, which formed the LIFT program. State Emergency Service (SES) managers stated that a Change Management Plan and extensive consultation had been undertaken. The PSA believes that the LIFT program resulted in some lack of transparency and there have been concerns raised by PSA members regarding the recruitment processes.

The PSA asked for list of roles, locations and how they were filled. It was noted there were some moderate to light impacts on some staff. P&C advised the recruitment action for these funded roles is a little more than halfway through and expect most recruitment to be completed by end of April. There were several positions identified as indigenous roles across SHQ and Zones. The PSA will continue to monitor and ensure meaningful consultation occurs.

Additional recruitment program

As further new few funding became available ($89m announced in December 2022) the SES has been able to consider new staffing structures. The PSA understands this is in addition to the LIFT program. While the SES stated there has considerable consultation with PSA, including a Change Management Plan, there are no dates set for staff and member consultation yet. The PSA expects to be fully engaged in the process when this occurs.

We understand there are tight timeframes to inform Government and the SES have engaged EY to advise on potential structures. SES noted they are committed to continue strong consultation. The PSA believes though that currently, the plans are not clear to everyone.

As there is the possibility of confusion between the LIFT program and this new funding, the PSA asked the SES to issue a memo outlining difference between the two recruitment programs.

Professional standards

SES continues its review of functions. We understand this is with the Senior Leadership Team for review and will then be released. The PSA will continue to monitor this program.

Mental health and wellbeing

A new member assistance program (EAP) has gone to tender. The PSA supports the plan to further enhance available services to staff. The PSA expects further information shortly.

The PSA also supports the summer well-being series, which we understand was well accepted and attended. Peer support has 18 new volunteer support people. We are also encouraged by the Psychological Safety Program to manage risk for members.

Wearing of uniform

The PSA is concerned that a recent OCT Directorate direction to wear blues could impact the safety of members when out in public. There appears to be confusion about who needs to wear blues; in some areas it is mandated, while in others it’s not. The PSA has strongly encouraged the SES to get clarity and issue guidance to staff. The PSA also sought staff guidance around security, safety concerns and issuance of Laundry Allowance for those affected.

Rank and insignia

The PSA is concerned that the new Rank and Insignia Policy is unnecessarily confusing and lacks clarity, particularly regarding staff ranking. The policy doesn’t consider length of service and experience in roles. The PSA is disappointed that after more than six years of issues and significant feedback the results of the consultation hadn’t been seen by most staff. The PSA is strongly of the view that this issue needs urgent resolution especially with new roles coming online. Of particular concern is that some lesser experienced volunteers are ranked higher than long term experienced staff.

Peer support and chaplaincy

The PSA is pursuing concerns that peer support has been very lacking or absent in central NSW. We are actively following this matter with management.


Nicole Harding

Rodney Whalan

Craig Ronan


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