A Coronial Inquiry into the Sir Ivan fire near Dunedoo is investigating its cause and how it was handled. Faith in the management of fire services has been shaken, and reports suggest volunteer numbers are dropping.
Like many farmers I have been fighting bushfires for over 40 years doing no more than any farmer in helping neighbours.
But in that time I have watched the Rural Fire Service (RFS) develop into a mega bureaucracy that is probably justified in the hinterland of cities and towns but appears overly bureaucratic and expensive around broadacre farms.
Let the volunteers make the decisions that have done all the firefighting for many years and have been fairly happy with the setup.
Since the release of the review, the Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland (RFBAQ) has been pushing for place-based decision making that would allow local volunteer brigades to have the final say.
“I don’t think any rural fire brigade was ever consulted and gave their approval of an outside group coming to take charge of the fires here and take charge of your machinery and all the rest of it,” he said.
“I don’t think that setup is going to lead to harmony, I think it’s more likely to lead to conflict.”
The slow down to 40km/h when passing stationary emergency vehicles with flashing blue or red lights will change on 26th Sept 2019.
On higher speed roads (with a speed limit of 90km/h or more), motorists will be required to slow down safely to a speed that is reasonable for the circumstances. Motorists must also provide sufficient space between their vehicle and the stationary tow truck, breakdown assistance or emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights. This will include changing lanes on a multi-lane road if it is safe to do so.
On lower speed roads (with a speed limit of 80km/h or less), motorists will continue to be required to slow to 40km/h when passing stationary tow trucks, breakdown assistance or emergency vehicles displaying flashing lights.
It is a fact that many of our volunteer firefighters are not okay, they are doing it tough. The reasons for this are many and varied. Some are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), many are being impacted by drought and other external factors.
Call a mate today and check on their welfare.
The VFFA supports of any initiative that gives volunteer firefighters a voice. You may have your own views about the lack of advocacy, so it is important that we seize all opportunities to highlight inefficiencies in the support of our volunteers.
Many NSW Volunteer Firefighters took part in last year’s national Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey, they are now invited to once again participate in the 2019 survey.
A VFFA Annual General Meeting is being held at the Parkview Hotel, 281 Summer St, Orange NSW on Saturday August 10th, 2019 from 10.00am to 11:00am.
It will be followed by an ordinary meeting from 11.00am to 5.00pm at the same venue with a lunch break from 12.30pm to 1.30pm.
The VFFA would love to see our members, supporters and special guests attend this important event.