Bush Search and Rescue NSW have today announced that they have joined the NSW State
Emergency Service as the NSW SES Bush Search and Rescue Unit (NSW SES BSAR).
The move is an exciting development in the history of BSAR NSW, the oldest volunteer land
search unit in Australia, and will build on the existing land search capability within the SES.
With a focus on remote area searches, conducted in rough and challenging terrain, over 100
members of Bush Search and Rescue NSW will bring their knowledge and experience of working
in wilderness areas to the NSW SES. With expertise in bush navigation, search techniques,
canyon and vertical searching, BSAR will form an integral part of the SES’ response to land search
operations across the state.
President of Bush Search and Rescue NSW, Keith Maxwell says,
“Since 1936, BSAR has brought together experienced and skilled bushwalkers, many with valuable
local knowledge of wilderness areas, to assist the NSW Police and other agencies in searching for
missing people and aircraft. Our move to work as a unit within the NSW SES, will only go to
strengthen the existing relationships we have with the SES and help provide the best possible land
search and rescue capability to the people of NSW.”
The move comes at a time when the NSW SES is undergoing significant change to its structures
and organisation. These changes, spearheaded by their ‘Volunteering Reimagined’ initiative,
opens up new ways of building capability and capacity, within a new and flexible model of
“I am proud and honoured to welcome the Bush Search and Rescue into the NSW SES. The
BSAR volunteers will greatly enhance our Service’s remote search capability, bringing a wealth of
specialised experience with an excellent reputation. They are now very much a part of our NSW
SES family, and I look forward to them supporting search operations across the state.” Mark
Smethurst, NSW SES Commissioner.
NSW SES BSAR will operate as a unit within the SES and continue to be available to respond to
remote area land searches 24/7, as they have done under the umbrella of the Volunteer Rescue
Association (VRA), since 1970.
As hosts of the annual NavShield event (Australian Emergency Services Wilderness Navigation
Shield), BSAR are looking forward to the event sitting within the SES and continuing to grow the
training, development and team building opportunities that this premier navigation event offers.
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