2017 Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey Now Open

2017 Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey Now Open

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.

See us at Henty Machinery Field Days (site 54a)

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.

VFFA AGM and Ordinary Meeting – Sat 5th August 2017

VFFA AGM and Ordinary Meeting – Sat 5th August 2017

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.

The Hon. Robert Borsak MLC talks about bullying, harassment and discrimination

The Hon. Robert Borsak MLC talks about bullying, harassment and discrimination

Radio 2UUU morning host, Barry Mac talks to the Hon. Robert Borsak MLC (Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party) about the inquiry into and report on emergency services agencies with a focus upon:

1. Bullying, harassment and discrimination
2. Support structures in place to assist victims
3. Support services available to emergency services workers and volunteers with related mental health issues
4. The appropriateness of uniforms provided to personnel in emergency services agencies
5. The relocation of the New South Wales Rural Fire Services Headquarters to Orange, Dubbo or Parkes

Submissions close on the 23rd July 2017

Please don’t remain silent, the VFFA is prepared to assist where possible and we have been assured that a range of protective measures can be applied if you are worried about retribution.

The future of volunteering in fire and emergency services (Australia wide)

The future of volunteering in fire and emergency services (Australia wide)

A newsletter (from the Association of Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades WA Inc) clearly highlights that volunteer firefighters in Western Australia are endangered unless radical changes to the existing city-centric management occur. The VFFA continues to campaign to protect the future of volunteer firefighters in New South Wales from the same demise.

The decline of the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has been documented in their own financial reports.

… our diverse volunteer family needs specialist understanding and better support… something that a city-centric, para-military bureaucracy simply can not deliver.

Put the RURAL back into the Rural Fire Service.

Draft Grievance Service Standards for Comment

The following Draft Service Standards are currently out for consultation and members are encouraged to provide feedback.
The VFFA is sharing this material to help provide the widest circulation possible.
Send you feedback or enquiries by email to feedback.standards@rfs.nsw.gov.au or provide your feedback via the MyRFS forums.
1. Consultation Draft Service Standard 1.1.3 – Notice of Grievance Form.
2. Consultation Draft Service Standard 1.1.3 Grievances v3.0

VFFA General Meeting – Murrumbateman Inn

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.

We hope you can make it on the day.

Bullying survey results

Bullying survey results

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.

RFS Volunteer Fire Fighter Discipline Procedures in Need of Reform

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.