Emergency groups 'overestimate' capability: report

CENTRAL Victorian fire brigades could be ill-equipped to respond to emergencies, with a new report suggesting the CFA doesn't understand how many volunteers it needs.

Victoria's Auditor-General said both the CFA and SES "overestimate" their emergency response capabilities.

The report report tabled in State Parliament this week noted "neither agency can assure it has the capacity to respond to incidents when they occur". It also said the recruitment processes failed to address workforce needs.

CFA chair Claire Higgins said they would implement the Auditor-General's recommendations.

Bendigo SES volunteer Daniel Reader said he would welcome more courses and training for recruits.

"New volunteers go through a very basic interview stage," he said.

"We try to work out whether they’re going to hang around for a while. There are some people who we invest time and money in for training and then they leave."

The report said retention rates for volunteers were much lower in the SES than CFA. 

Mr Reader said the Bendigo unit had about 45 members, but had the capacity for 50 volunteers.

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