Minister Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott MP. (AAP IMAGE / Angelo Velardo)
Minister Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott MP. (AAP IMAGE / Angelo Velardo)

Volunteer recognition hopes reignited after chance encounter

WHEN Bryan Robins discovered NSW Police and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott was coming to the PCYC Grafton opening day last week, he knew this was his final chance.

The former State Emergency Services officer raced home, gathered several pieces of paperwork, placed them into an envelope and headed back to the PCYC just in time for the ceremony to start.


Former SES officer Bryan Robins
Former SES officer Bryan Robins

Contained inside were requests and rejections made by various politicians to formally recognise the volunteers who attended the 1989 Clybucca-Kempsey bus disaster.

"All I said was 'g'day mate, this is off topic, but in this envelope is a story that involves the emergency services. I was just wondering if you could have a look at it. If you help with this one you could help hundreds of people.'," Mr Robins said.

"He said 'yeah, don't worry about it, I'll have a look', and put it straight into his pocket."




Earlier this year Mr Robins reached out to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services requesting formal recognition for volunteers who attended the Clybucca crash.

But the request was rejected, on his behalf, on the grounds "it would be inappropriate …" by " … inadvertently stirring old memories and distress for those attended."

"I put that letter in the envelope from his assistant because I wonder if David Elliott ever got to see that letter or if the Minister assisting the Minister took it upon themselves to just shut it down," Mr Robins said.

Now, Mr Robins awaits a formal response.

"I'd like to hope I'll get a letter that says they will go ahead and recognise these volunteers, but who knows," he said.

"The element of surprise is a good thing and hopefully this will help get it over the line and our volunteers finally recognised."