Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (14:45): My question is to the Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services. What is being done to improve staff and volunteer retention within the State Emergency Service? With your leave, sir, and that of the house, I will explain.

Leave granted.

Mr PEDERICK: Documents released under freedom of information show that 25 paid staff and 597 volunteers have left the organisation since early 2022.

The Hon. D.R. CREGAN (Kavel—Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services, Special Minister of State) (14:45): I thank the shadow minister for the question. We deeply appreciate and value our emergency services workers and volunteers in South Australia. They are essential to our community safety, most particularly over winter in terms of our flood, road crash rescue, fallen tree and other obstacle responses, and of course these are all hazards agencies so they are just some of the matters to which they will have to respond. Those of us who have regional communities are particularly grateful for the year-round service of our CFS volunteers but also over the bushfire season when we depend on their longstanding expertise.

In terms of volunteers over particular measuring periods—I am sure these are matters that the shadow minister will pursue with me in the course of the estimates process—in 2023-24 that financial year staff separations for the emergency services sector stand at 21 for SAFECOM, 28 for CFS, 15 for the SES, 62 for the MFS, for a total across the sector of 128. In terms of volunteers for the same period, the CFS recruited 1,220 volunteers and 824 separated for a net gain of 396, and for the SES there were 412 joining with 182 separations for a net gain of 230.

As I say, we are particularly grateful for the expertise, the deep expertise, of our paid and volunteer emergency service sector workers. We depend on their expertise. It is deep expertise. For example, with respect to the SES, there have been already 2,500 call-outs this year. There have been 43,000 volunteer hours put in in preparation for the coming winter and of course all hazards ahead. We look forward to exploring these matters with the shadow minister in the course of the estimates process.

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