The NSW Government has commenced its rollout of more than 200 new vehicles and vessels for the State Emergency Service (SES) as part of a $25 million fleet upgrade.
The rollout is in response to recommendations made by the independent flood inquiry and comes after several years of record fires, floods and storms, resulting in more than 80,000 calls for help to the SES in 2022 alone.
The new vehicles include high-clearance trucks that can drive through floodwaters, light flood rescue vehicles, command vehicles, heavy rescue vehicles and car trailers. The new vessels include inflatable rescue vessels and archangel inflatable rescue rafts.
Importantly, all new vehicles and vessels include 4G and satellite technology that allows crews to communicate while deployed, in addition to using regular radio networks.
Those areas of the state most at risk of flooding are being prioritised during the rollouts, with delivery scheduled to be completed by the end of this financial year.
The vessels are being built by Britton Marine at Kurnell in Sydney, or at Yamba Welding and Engineering in northern NSW.
NSW Premier Chris Minns said the SES plays a vital role in safeguarding communities in times of crisis. “This investment will further equip our volunteers to respond to flooding and other emergencies.
“These new boats and vehicles will help save lives and minimise the impact of disasters on communities.
“The bravery and selflessness of SES volunteers over recent years has been remarkable,” he added.
“The NSW Government is proud to be helping the SES to help people across our state.”
Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib added, “This funding recognises the valuable contribution SES volunteers make to the state, particularly when they are on the frontline during floods and storms.
“These resources will enhance our response capabilities across the state and will particularly benefit flood-impacted communities in the Central West and the Northern Rivers.
“This investment also supports the boat building sector in our state, demonstrating the capability of local industry to deliver high-quality vessels for emergency service use.”
NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York said, “These new assets ensure we can provide swift and effective assistance to those who need it most during times of crisis.
“The additional vessels and equipment will help volunteers save lives and respond to floods, as well as many other incidents such as road crashes and land rescues, searches and other emergencies.”