President's Newsletter April 2016
I have had the privilege of travelling around the State over the past month to attend different meetings, conferences and be part of working groups and through all of this, speaking with members across a range of issues.
One that has popped up over a number of areas, and raised significant concern with our members as well as myself is around how we treat each other and are treated in return.
To reflect on something I am sure we have all been told by someone important in our lives- ‘treat others the way we wish to be treated’- I am saddened to see this is not always the case when we are dealing with others.
The main concerns that have been raised with me have been around the Code of Conduct as well as confidentiality. I would encourage all of you to get your hands on a current version of both the SES and the Association’s Codes and have a read through them and ensure you understand not only your responsibilities under them, but also your rights. These documents should never be used as a big ‘stick’ to hold over someone, but they do offer protection to people from certain behaviours that- certainly by the VA’s standards- are not welcome, acceptable or tolerated.
Confidentiality is also a vital part of building and maintaining healthy, respectful relationships. Another lesson from my childhood was- ‘if you wouldn’t like someone saying it about you, think twice about saying it about them’. We face some of the most horrific, stressful and upsetting scenes through the work we do, the last thing we need to be dealing with is internal conflict within our ranks.
If you feel that you would either like further clarification on information raised, or would like to discuss anything in more detail or seek advice, the Association is always here for members through the Volunteers Association Area Representatives or the Member Services Team.
In 2013 we asked our members for feedback on our magazine 'The Volunteer'.
To assist us in delivering a high quality publication, we are again asking for a few minutes of your time to complete the same survey.
Information you provide will be treated confidentially and will help us to continue to deliver a contemporary, high quality publication to our members.
Copies of the survey are in this edition of ‘The Volunteer’ and can be returned to the office by post (Unit 1, 2-6 Lindsay Street, Rockdale 2216), email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or fax (1300 273 782) or you can complete this survey online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KB2JBD6
National Volunteering Conference
As a professional development opportunity 17 members attended the National Volunteering Conference that was held in Canberra at the start of the month. This conference enabled us to learn more about the issues affecting volunteer based organisations and how they were being addressed.
The Volunteers Association gave a presentation on how we have been working on changing the structure of the Association in an effort to improve communication, among other things, as a result of issues identified in the Roadshow Report.
The presentation was well attended with lots of questions being asked at the conclusion.
The abstract for the presentation was recently accepted for the AFAC conference to be held in Brisbane later this year.
During our stay in Canberra we also took the opportunity to visit the National Emergency Services Memorial.
National Volunteering Conference
Last year we let you know that we joined with other States and Territory Volunteers Associations to form a National Association, the aim being to represent SES volunteers’ interests on common issues with peak bodies and the Commonwealth. After nearly 12 months of work, the National Association just received charity status and also joined the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council (AFAC) as an affiliate member. At a recent gathering of members we shared stories and issues of matters affecting SES volunteers that were common across each jurisdiction.
Volunteers Association Conference
Planning is well underway for our conference on Saturday 8 October 2016. We are arranging an exciting line up of guest speakers, presenters, and activities followed by a gala dinner in the evening. With a theme focusing on Volunteers Supporting Volunteers we will soon be issuing an expressions of interest for members who may wish to attend.
All attendees will be invited to attend the annual Volunteer’s Memorial Service that is held in the Domain on Sunday 9 October 2016.
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