Employers who support staff who volunteer for Western Australia’s emergency services have been recognised for their commitment to helping protect local communities at a ceremony on 5 November.

More than 80 businesses, organisations and self-employed volunteers from across the State were celebrated at the 2021 Volunteer Employer Recognition Awards (VERA) ceremony.

Nominations for the awards increased by more than 20 per cent from last year, reflecting the commitment of many employers during a challenging year in which WA was struck by bushfires in Wooroloo and Red Gully, Tropical Cyclone Seroja and severe flooding throughout the State.

Local award recipients Anspach Agricultural Contracting were nominated by Nikki Woods, their adminstration officer and Captain of Gingin Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service.

Nikki says, “Rob and Angela are happy for me to leave the office immediately if I get a call, or to take a day off to recover after a night incident.” Owners Angela and Rob Anspach are members of the Wannamal Bush Fire Brigade and often mobilise their equipment to help at incidents.

Also recognised were the Shire of Chittering, who manage five volunteer bushfire brigades and support several employees who are members of the brigades, including the Shire CEO Matthew Gillfellon.

Mr Gilfellon said, “We strongly recognise the crucial role that our volunteers provide in ensuring emergency services are provided in the shire. This is why we support our staff to volunteer for these services and we appreciate being recognised for doing so.”

Muchea-based mining and civil contractors Marlee Resources, was recognised for its willingness to give volunteer firefighters all the time they need to respond in times of emergency. Employee Marthinus Jacobsz says the company has given him full support to attend numerous bushfire incidents over the past year, as well as training.

Emergency Services Minister Reece Whitby said, “We rely on volunteers to help protect communities right across the State, and that would not be possible without the support of their employers.

“It’s especially important to recognise small businesses and self-employed volunteers, who often close their doors during emergencies as they work to keep the community safe.

“It has been a difficult twelve months, but it is heartening to see such a significant rise in the number of employers supporting emergency services in Western Australia and I thank them for their efforts.”