Falling koala numbers not a crisis, says expert

Falling koala numbers not a crisis, says expert

Australia’s cuddliest native animal is at the centre of fierce scientific dispute, with new research challenging conventional assumptions about koalas, their relationship with the bush and the wisdom of conservation campaigns designed to increase their numbers in the wild.

Vic Jurskis, a respected forester and ecologist and the author of a research paper to be published next week in Wildlife Research, a peer-reviewed, CSIRO journal, dubs it the great koala scam.

He says ignorance about koalas and poor management of our native forests have led to a situation where the decline of koala populations from unsustainable and unnaturally high levels is misinterpreted as a crisis.

What it takes to be a fire behaviour expert with the Rural Fire Service

What it takes to be a fire behaviour expert with the Rural Fire Service

The VFFA is sharing this ABC News article because we support the comments made by Dr. Simon Heemstra including:

Mapping by hand most reliable
There is no technology that can replace frontline experience
It would be great to see a relocation of these resources to a locality west of the “sandstone curtain”.

Lets not forget all of the volunteers across the state with a wealth of local knowledge to offer. 

Ray Hadley talks about the use of Call Centres for Fundraising

You may recall the VFFA publishing a series of posts titled Was the attack on the fundraising activities of the RFSA justified?
Good News from Ray Hadley…. The ACCC is announcing, Charities risk stiff fines if they outsource their fundraising to companies that hound potential donors.
Charities have become big business. Mr Hadley suggests that you donate directly to your local brigade.

Rural Fire Service faces accusations of bullying and nepotism

Rural Fire Service faces accusations of bullying and nepotism

With the state already facing “extreme” bushfire risks with hot and dry weather, a parliamentary inquiry has heard of allegations of bullying and nepotism within the Rural Fire Service. The hearing was told by vice-president of the Volunteer Fire Fighters Association that the community could no longer be protected.

At the public Emergency Services Agency hearing, chaired by Shooters and Fishers’ Robert Borsak, RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons was quizzed by Greens member David Shoebridge after it was revealed 48 per cent of RFS members had witnessed bullying while 18 per cent had been victims of bullying and that “only two people have been dismissed because of it”.

Inquiry hears of bullying, nepotism in RFS

Inquiry hears of bullying, nepotism in RFS

THE Rural Fire Service (RFS) has lost touch with its regional roots, and volunteers who have spoken against the bureaucracy have faced bullying and harassment, including election interference at a brigade level, a parliamentary inquiry into the emergency services has been told.

Some parallels with WA

There are many common problems that volunteer firefighters face in an Australia wide context.

One issue that has been raised by the VFFA is the need for the NSW State Government to look at the rural culture that has been eroded by city-centric RURAL Fire Service management.

This media content is being shared to highlight the parallels that exist with our WA counterparts.

“Whilst you’ve got a city-centric department running a state-wide business you’re always going to have this conflict”

Fire-fighting helicopter pilot speaks out against Martin Mars Water Bomber

Fire-fighting helicopter pilot speaks out against Martin Mars Water Bomber

“Water doesn’t put out a fire, the crews do,” the anonymous pilot wrote. “Large aircraft such as what you have read about in this article take crews off the fire lines, sit helicopters on the ground for hours and stop precious production and critical gains,” the pilot wrote. “[The Bomber’s] water comes out at a force which sends embers out and start spot fires.”

“[The water bombing method] loosens ground, blows over trees creating hazards and ruins guards put in by crews.”

NSW Rural Fire Service announces $9 million Centre for Excellence

NSW Rural Fire Service announces $9 million Centre for Excellence

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.