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Did you know that the bullying and harassment issue has been around for a long time in the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) and it is not limited to RFS Volunteers?

Where does this bullying and harassment come from and where will it end?

The bullying culture that we see today, has developed from the beginnings of the NSW RFS empire in 1997 and it continues today.

Reports received by the VFFA clearly indicate that Fire Control Officers were bullied into submission to “toe the line” in the early days of the RFS and today, volunteers are told “if you don’t like the way that the RFS is heading – leave”.

Public Service Association (PSA)

The PSA is the association that represents RFS staff, they posted the following content, dated Jun 26, 2015. (click HERE to view the original PSA post)

The Public Service Association (PSA) is continuing in its fight to have the Rural Fire Service (RFS) address its bullying problem. The 2014 People Matter Survey confirmed the extent of the issue: 49 percent of RFS respondents had witnessed bullying in the past 12 months and 29 percent had experienced bullying in the same period.

The PSA recently provided a comprehensive submission to Respectful and Inclusive Workplace, the RFS draft service standard that deals with bullying. This draft service standard in its current form is a backward step in addressing the problem and is inferior to the policy it will replace.

The draft lacks any strategy to deal with the causes of bullying and fails to address the real issue; that RFS staff have little or no confidence their complaint will be handled quickly, fairly and confidentially, or that it will have any positive result. In fact, staff fear that if a complaint is made it will lead to victimisation and a worsening of the bullying behaviour.

Bullying culture clearly impacting upon volunteers

The 2014 People Matter Survey is not the only survey that supports the existence of an RFS bullying culture.

The VFFA conducted a survey of volunteers (over a 9 month period in 2016 – 2017) indicated that 62% of volunteers surveyed had been directly impacted by bullying within the RFS.

75% of those agreed that NSW has lost experienced and long standing volunteers as a result of the bullying.

Are our politicians being bullied?

It looks very suspicious when we see the NSW State Government failing to respond to the views of regional and rural communities. One example is the decentralisation of the RFS Head Office.

Decentralisation is on the priority list for The National Party of Australia but not for The NSW Nationals.

Decentralisation - NSW Nationals Exempt

Are they being influenced by the NSW RFS?

Are they being bullied in some way?

Why does the NSW RFS actively seek out more and more urban based disciplines (many are far removed from firefighting) whilst they continue to neglect regional and rural NSW?

Is the public being bullied by the NSW State Nationals?

We only have to look at their track record of council mergers and the recent decision not to decentralise the NSW RFS.

The VFFA is not giving up on this issue.

Please share this post to send a strong message to the NSW State Government.

Feel free to add your comments below.

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