Skip to content

Riding roughshod: The removal of quad bikes from WA Emergency Services 2017-191.1

26 October 2017



In February 2013, Western Australia’s State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers were stunned to learn quad bikes were no longer permitted for rescue and emergency operations, despite having successfully used them for over 10 years. Following a temporary ban in late 2011, the bikes had now been officially banned by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) which oversaw the SES. DFES had commissioned several risk assessments in 2011 that concluded quad bikes posed extreme and unacceptable risks to operators. DFES proposed replacing the bikes with safer vehicles called All-Terrain-Utilities (ATUs), a proposal that was not well received by SES volunteers. The quad-bike ban ushered in the start of a contentious organisational change process that was riddled with breakdowns in communication and interpersonal conflicts.

This case allows for an in-depth exploration of numerous topics and concepts, including organisational change management, stakeholder communications, engaging with volunteers, planning change processes, relationships between public sector and not-for-profit organisations, and procurement processes. The case is accompanied by a detailed Teaching Note.

Authors: Belinda Cham / UWA; Dr Ying (Lena) Wang / RMIT Univ.; Karina Jorritsma / UWA; Dr Wayne Gregson / WA DFES
Published Date: 26 October 2017
Author Institution: ANZSOG
Content Length: 11
Product Type: Case with teaching note