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Nearest and fastest Emergency Services dispatch

May 11, 2016

Duncan McFetridge MP
Shadow Minister for Emergency Services
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Nearest and fastest Emergency Services dispatch


The State Liberals are demanding that Emergency Services Minister Peter Malinauskas initiates an independent investigation of how emergency services were dispatched to incidents during this week’s wild storms.

“I want to know why Minister Malinauskas hasn’t dealt with the dispatch chaos before now and want the Minister to commit to the public release of the investigation,” said Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Duncan McFetridge.

A letter to Minister Malinauskas on March 21 and signed by 42 members of the Onkaparinga SES warned the Minister what was happening:

The community is currently not receiving the nearest, fastest and most appropriate resource. The previous Unit Manager, Peter Wicks AFSM, was threatened with disciplinary measures and investigated for ensuring the principles of dispatch and response to emergency incidents agreed to by the CFS, MFS and SES Chiefs were adhered to.

“Minister Malinauskas can’t pretend he wasn’t aware of the problems before we had the ridiculous situation where emergency services crews were crossing paths travelling in the opposite direction to attend call outs for help during this week’s storms,” said Mr McFetridge.

“It makes no sense for an Adelaide Hills CFS brigade to be attending calls for help in Glenelg whilst metropolitan SES crews are travelling to the Adelaide Hills.”

In 2007 the SES, MFS and CFS signed an agreement that stated:

Responses of Emergency Services to emergency incidents will be based on the principle that the nearest and fastest appropriate resource will respond.

“Almost a decade later that commonsense approach has disappeared due to poor ministerial oversight,” said Mr McFetridge.

“The investigation must look at exactly when calls for help were received, how and why they were categorised and which Emergency Services units were dispatched to deal with them.”

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