On Saturday 1 September 2012, Minister for Police and Emergency Services the Hon Michael Gallacher MLC, officially presented the New South Wales State Emergency Service (NSW SES) with seven new Artic Cat/Bearcat 570 XT snowmobiles and three double snowmobile trailers at Perisher Valley.
The new snowmobiles were acquired to enhance the Alpine search capability of the NSW SES volunteers who assist NSW Police Force who are the lead agency for Alpine search operations in which the NSW SES play a critical part.
Mr Gallacher was joined at the official handover ceremony by local Member for Monaro, Mr John Barilaro, NSW SES Deputy Commissioner Steven Pearce and NSW SES Assistant Commissioner Greg Newton.
Many of the volunteer Alpine operators from the NSW SES units based in Jindabyne, Tumut, Queanbeyan, Khancoban and Tumbarumba also attended the event and to demonstrate their skills.
The Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Mr Gallacher, said this winters operations and training program demonstrates the versatility of the NSW SES.
“Our highly skilled volunteers must be ready when called on to assist in search and rescue missions in alpine areas. Not only is it important they have the skills and experience to handle these search operations in very trying conditions, they must also have the most effective and capable vehicles, such as these new snowmobiles, to move around in their challenging environment.
“Over the past few weeks we have seen some severe weather and heavy snow falls impact the Alpine region. This has served as a reminder for people holidaying in these areas, particularly back country skiers, to be aware of safety advices and measures, and to use common sense when visiting this sometimes treacherous environment,” Mr Gallacher added.
After the handover ceremony, the Official Party was given a hands-on experience with the new snowmobiles when they were taken as pillion passengers up to Charlotte Pass and then back to Perisher. During this activity, the NSW SES Alpine operators demonstrated their operational capability of and skills on the snowmobiles.