On Wednesday 6th December 2017, a day after International Volunteer Day, a Sydney based Volunteer Firefighter was convicted of dangerous driving in a Local Court case that was heard over three days. The Volunteer was charged by the NSW Police some months after the Police attended a Hazard Reduction Burn.
The Police attended following a phone call from a paid staff member of the NSW Rural Fire Service (the RFS) reporting an alleged incident. The volunteer was on route to the fire station to assist with a pre-planned hazard reduction burn. The matter was reported to the Police without the RFS taking any steps to investigate the allegations internally, or to even hear the Volunteer’s account of the event.
Legal costs to protect the good name of this Volunteer are now in the tens’ of thousands of dollars and the Volunteer Firefighter was sentenced and ordered to pay a $750 fine and had his license suspended for a 12-month period The legal proceedings have been underway for approximately 14 months, they have taken an incredible toll on the volunteer, his family and brigade.
The Volunteer has not received any support or communication from the NSW RFS.
It is very important that we inform our readers that information provided by anonymous persons is noted and followed up where possible, but the level of support and assistance could be limited if we are unable to correspond with people who remain anonymous to the VFFA.
The privacy of our members, volunteers and whistle-blowers will always be treated as the highest priority when dealing with information provided.
The 2017 Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey is now open to all NSW RFS volunteers.
The survey will run until 16th October 2017.
The VFBV Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey is an annual snapshot of volunteer opinion, which includes 33 questions on issues chosen by volunteers. Last year a record number of volunteers completed the survey and over 7,000 volunteers took part across the interstate surveys. Your comments are confidential, but the results go straight to the decision makers.
The survey will take 10 – 15 minutes to complete and is open until close of business 16 October 2017.
The survey continues to be an important and reliable method to capture the views of volunteers and track what has been achieved and is improving, as well as addressing areas that are the cause of dissatisfaction for volunteers.
Note: This survey is hosted by the VFBV and RFSA (NSW). The VFFA supports any initiative that promotes consultation with volunteers.
The Volunteer Fire Fighters Association (VFFA) has secured a site at the Henty Machinery Field Days. The focus of our presence at Henty will be to “Put the RURAL back into the Rural Fire Service”.
Our site will feature a couple of tanker trailers in an effort to create some discussion upon the need for the State government to formally recognise the firefighting capability that farmers bring to the table.
The announcement to build a Centre of Excellence in Dubbo is a victory for the people of Dubbo, the VFFA, all volunteers, regional and rural people of NSW.
This news is certainly a step in the right direction as it will pave the way for increased regional and rural influence in the RFS Learning and Development Directorate.
The VFFA congratulates MP Troy Grant, Dubbo Regional Council, NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons and NSW RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers for this commitment but does it goes far enough? The VFFA believes that a much larger chunk of the NSW Rural Fire Service, if not all, needs to be decentralised.
A VFFA Annual General Meeting is being held at the Parkview Hotel, 281 Summer St, Orange NSW on Saturday August 5th, 2017 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 in the Services Club Bistro from 12.30pm to 1.30pm.
The VFFA would love to see our members, supporters and special guests attend this important event.
This post includes a VFFA video that was created to help promote the NSW Legislative Council, Upper House Committee inquiry into Emergency Services Agencies.
Submissions close on the 23rd July 2017.
This inquiry is not limited the the RFS. It is looking at bullying, harassment and discrimination in all emergency service agencies as well as relocation of the NSW RFS head office or Headquarters to a regional location.