International Search and Rescue Advisory Group



About this Item
SpeakersMacDonald Mr Scot; Gallacher The Hon Michael
BusinessQuestions Without Notice, QWN



INTERNATIONAL SEARCH AND RESCUE ADVISORY GROUP
Page: 6952

The Hon. SCOT MacDONALD: My question is addressed to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Will the Minister inform the House about the United Nations International Urban Search and Rescue exercise in November this year in Seoul, Korea?

The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: The International Search and Rescue Advisory Group [INSARAG] is an advisory group to the United Nations Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs, which in turn is responsible for coordinating international assistance during times of major disasters. The International Search and Rescue Advisory Group maintains a registry of disaster assistance and recovery capabilities that can be deployed all over the world to assist following major disasters. A major part of the New South Wales multiagency Urban Search and Rescue [USAR] capability is registered with the United Nations for international deployment in accordance with International Search and Rescue Advisory Group guidelines. Members would well remember the recent significant and highly successful New South Wales Urban Search and Rescue team deployments to Christchurch in New Zealand and to Fukushima in Japan earlier this year.

Additional to formal United Nations registration, the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group has recently implemented a classification system for registered Urban Search and Rescue teams, known as the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group External Classification. The International Search and Rescue Advisory Group External Classification assesses registered Urban Search and Rescue teams for their appropriateness to operate at light, medium or heavy capacity in disaster environments. In November this year the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group External Classification is currently scheduled to formally assess the Korean Urban Search and Rescue team in Seoul. As part of the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group External Classification transparency of assessment a number of registered International Search and Rescue Advisory Group assessors carry out assessments of other Urban Search and Rescue teams.

I am informed that currently New South Wales has three registered International Search and Rescue Advisory Group assessors. In that light, it is with pleasure that I inform the House that the United Nations recently requested that Chief Superintendent John Denny from Fire and Rescue NSW—one of our current registered International Search and Rescue Advisory Group assessors—form part of the formal assessment team in Seoul this coming November. Not only does this validate the broad skills and experience of our own New South Wales Urban Search and Rescue team's capabilities but it is also very timely as New South Wales recently applied for full International Search and Rescue Advisory Group External Classification assessment. Therefore, the attendance of our own International Search and Rescue Advisory Group External Classification assessor will obviously greatly assist with the New South Wales Urban Search and Rescue assessment next year.

The full International Search and Rescue Advisory Group External Classification process takes 12 months to complete, and we have recently been advised that the New South Wales Urban Search and Rescue team will be assessed for heavy capability in September 2012. Providing support to this International Search and Rescue Advisory Group External Classification request, the Australian Agency for International Development [AusAID] has confirmed that it will absorb all travel and associated costs for Chief Superintendent Denny and an International Search and Rescue Advisory Group External Classification assessment assistant. This travel funding is part of AusAID's existing broader support for our own New South Wales Urban Search and Rescue team International Search and Rescue Advisory Group External Classification assessment in 2012. I congratulate the recognition of our New South Wales International Search and Rescue Advisory Group External Classification assessor in this formal United Nations request, and I look forward to providing the House with more information in the future.