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National Voluteers' summit to focus on challenges in emergency management.



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ATTORNEY-GENERAL THE HON PHILIP RUDDOCK MP

NEWS RELEASE

6April 2005 054/2005

NATIONAL VOLUNTEERS’ SUMMIT TO FOCUS ON CHALLENGES IN EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has paid tribute to the vital contribution of emergency volunteers to keeping communities safer and more secure at the opening of the 2005 Emergency Management Volunteers’ Summit in Canberra today.

The Attorney also outlined details of the Australian Government’s $49 million ‘Working Together to Manage Emergencies’ policy announced last year.

More than 400 volunteers from across Australia and the region have converged on the nation’s capital to take part in discussions, hear from keynote speakers and focus on the strategic direction of the emergency volunteer sector.

“Australia is extremely fortunate to have some 500,000 emergency management volunteers who make enormous personal sacrifices to work on the frontline and behind the scenes in times of emergency and disaster,” Mr Ruddock said.

“The summit, with its theme Value your Volunteers, provides a timely opportunity for the organisations to review progress with support, training and other issues relevant to the work the volunteers carry out.

“Attendees will discuss the constant changes in the emergency management sector and how to maintain relevance, growth and sustainability into the future,” he said.

Mr Ruddock said Australia would not be able to handle all the hazards that faced our communities were it not for the commitment and professionalism of emergency management volunteers.

“In times of emergency and disaster we draw on the services of so many capable, dedicated and skilled volunteers,” Mr Ruddock said. “The sheer scale and scope of the work they carry out is testament to their value to all Australians.

“Governments could never hope to replicate the work of volunteers and that is why we want to ensure their efforts are recognised and supported in every way possible.”

The two-day Summit is being attended by volunteers from across Australia, along with representatives from New Zealand and Fiji. It is the second such Summit hosted by Emergency Management Australia, a division of the Attorney-General’s Department. The first was held in 2001. It was officially opened today by Victorian Governor John Landy on behalf of the Governor-General.

Media Contact: Charlie McKillop (Mr Ruddock’s office) 0419 278 715

Alastair Wilson (EMA) 0408 606 462

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 • Telephone (02) 6277 7300 • Fax (02) 6273 4102 www.law.gov.au/ag