Nearly 11,000 rescues are carried out each year in New South Wales, the majority involving motor vehicle accidents.
In metropolitan areas we have three emergency services providing general land rescue - NSW Police, the Ambulance Service and the NSW Fire Brigades. The two volunteer services, the State Emergency Service and the Volunteer Rescue Association, generally cover the remainder of the State.
Rescue arrangements in NSW are different to all other mainland states. Elsewhere, the trend in metropolitan areas has been towards consolidation with only one provider of rescue services.
The State Rescue Board of NSW was set up in 1989. Its primary role is to ensure efficient and effective rescue services are maintained throughout the State.
In this audit we examined how well placed the Board was to provide assurance to Parliament and the community that the organisation of rescue services in NSW best serves those in need of rescuing.
NSW deserves a clear and unequivocal answer on such an important issue. However, the issues are complex, often strongly argued, and generally there is insufficient relevant information upon which to make judgements about performance and value. This report outlines a way forward.
Parliamentary reference - Report number #140 - released 20 July 2005