On 30 November 2023, the Legislative Assembly of the Queensland Parliament referred the Marine Rescue Queensland (MRQ) Bill 2023, the State Emergency Service (SES) Bill 2023, and the Emergency Services Reform Amendment Bill 2023 to the Community Support and Service Committee for detailed consideration. Both the SES and the MRQ rely heavily on the support they receive from specially trained volunteers. The SES alone has around 5400 volunteers who are part of their membership.
Volunteering Queensland provided a submission to this inquiry. While supporting the overall aims of the Bills, including ensuring volunteer members of MRQ and the SES are fully covered by insurance and have the same legal protections in performing their duties as paid members of these organisations, Volunteering Queensland’s submission also emphasised the necessity of properly supporting volunteers in any situation where they are facing being suspended from duty, as well as any review of such suspension. The rights of all volunteers must be protected, and their work properly valued and supported.