Joint Press Release with George Brandis - The Coalition's plan for better emergency responses - recognising specialist community volunteers
Posted on Wednesday, 20 June 2012
Australians have a long history of being ready to pitch in and help each other in circumstances involving emergencies or national disasters. Black Saturday, Cyclone Tracy and the Queensland Floods are examples of how our communities can come together and work tirelessly to help our neighbours in tough times.
The Coalition values the importance of engaging volunteers to improve our disaster response capacity and build better communities.
Search and rescue dogs, and those volunteers who own and handle them, are a community asset with specialist skills and abilities that can be crucially important in times of emergency or national disaster.
Dogs have a reliable record internationally for their ability and usefulness to narrow down search areas quickly so that resources can be focused on a primary search area. It is widely acknowledged that, if deployed correctly, dogs greatly increase the probability of finding lost or missing persons, or enabling the locations of trapped persons to be determined quickly.
An elected Coalition government will work towards the creation of an Australian Search Dog Framework which will recognise and coordinate the resources and efforts of volunteers who work with search dogs across Australia.
The Framework will improve cooperation with State and Territory governments, volunteers and rescue organisations to, where necessary, eliminate the many patchwork and informal arrangements under which volunteer dog teams currently operate with a view to adopting nationally consistent standards.
To be coordinated by Emergency Management Australia, the Framework will operate to harmonise standards, build capacity, improve access to training and, most importantly, enhance deployment opportunities.
By working together with State and Territory governments, the Framework will provide a central point to recognise and register the important work of these volunteers. Building on existing efforts will increase the scope for better, faster deployment of search dogs and ultimately improve Australia’s capacity to respond to natural disasters and emergencies both domestically and internationally.
20 June 2012