This years workshop is being hosted by the Balnggarrawarra Gaarraay Melsonby traditional owners who are looking forward to welcoming you on-country to share their culture, management practices and this beautiful part of the world. Melsonby is right on the Normanby River 40 minutes northwest of Cooktown. The country there is amongst one of the largest collections of rock art in the world, and the Melsonby rangers take care of this country including fire management.
Dear VFFA Members, Friends, Supporters and Sponsors
You are invited to join us for an important General Meeting to be held at the Murrumbateman Inn (near Yass) at 9am on Saturday April 1st 2017.
Yes… we do realise that this date is April Fools Day, but only a fool would deny that the voice of the volunteer firefighter in NSW is gaining strength, volume and resolve.
Last year’s meeting (at this location) drew over one hundred people from around NSW along with a number of media representatives including the ABC’s Landline Programme.
We expect to have some of those affected by the Sir Ivan fire in attendance along with representatives from NSW Farmers Association. As such, we are expecting this meeting to be quite feisty and productive.
Morning and Afternoon Tea will be provided and a pub style lunch can be purchased. Sorry, but we don’t have millions of dollars in the bank to put on a five star show like other associations, you will have to buy your own lunch. Having said that, we do offer support for those who may be facing financial hardship on a case by case basis, please contact your VFFA Rep if you need assistance.
Currently accommodation at Murrumbateman is full but there is plenty available at Yass (only ten minutes away). Give us a shout if you need assistance securing accommodation.
The VFFA has received numerous complaints from volunteers who are bullied, harassed and pushed aside when they dare to speak out against issues that contradict the direction of the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS). In more recent times, The NSW RFS has openly targeted RFS Brigades and individuals that have openly supported the VFFA.
The VFFA is dedicated to ensuring that ALL volunteers (not limited to VFFA members) are provided with a voice. The VFFA respects that all persons (RFSA members, all volunteers and staff) deserve an opportunity to provide input into the future direction of the NSW RFS.
The VFFA conducted a survey of volunteers over a period of 9 months (21st May 2016 to 6th March 2017) with the following results:
Click the Read More button to view the results page.
The VFFA is concerned that in NSW volunteer rural fire-fighters who are subject to disciplinary action and who lodge grievances against paid staff have no option than to place faith in a system that is owned, controlled and arbitrated by the RFS.
Under the NSW Rural Fires Regulation 1997 a member of a rural fire brigade can be guilty of a breach of discipline if they are negligent, careless, inefficient or incompetent in the discharge of their duties. Hence the grounds for bringing discipline charges against a volunteer rural fire fighter are very broad, poorly defined and wide open to interpretation.
This post raises several concerns, the foremost being the proposal that the cost of attending an outsourced first aid course be borne by the Brigade(s).
The following questions have been posted:
Does the NSW RFS desire to have as many members as possible qualified in first aid?
Is the proposal for Brigades of the NSW RFS to meet costs for outsourced courses approved or sanctioned by the NSW RFS?
Is there a proposal for the costs of other courses such as chainsaw being covered by Brigades and/or individual members?
Was the issue discussed with volunteer training groups and if so what was the outcome?