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.

Round them up and move them out – Lock it up and burnt it out

This article is republished as a tribute to Laurie Norton who passed away on Wednesday 18th March 2015. Laurie created the article for the April 2009 edition of the VFFA Magazine.

Laurie was a foundation member of the VFFA and our first treasurer. When Laurie spoke everybody listened. He was a man of great knowledge and conviction. He will be sadly missed.

“If only these people could work with nature – not against it… It is no longer an open pristine alpine area, but a mutilated jungle”