The VFFA has raised this issue before but the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) and the Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA) does not seem to listen.
The Volunteer Membership Application form that is available on the My-RFS web site has not been updated and it contains errors.
According to the download page (above), the Volunteer Membership Application form was updated on the 19th of August 2016 but the information that appears on the downloaded file (below) is dated June 2012.
The obvious errors are:
1. The dates don’t seem to line up,
2. The form is contradictory because it asks for a cross in the box If you do not want to become a member of the NSW Rural Fire Service Association, then it states that If you do not tick this box, your name, address and telephone number will be disclosed to the RFSA.
It is assumed that the tick or cross error is an honest mistake.
The issues that are not so obvious are:
1. This is an opt-out system. When joining an association like the RFSA or the Volunteer Fire Fighters Association (VFFA), it should be a opt-in system. Opt-out membership to any third party organisation or group is a bit deceiving.
2. The VFFA has received reports from numerous NSW RFS members that their personal information has been disclosed to the RFSA against their wishes.The VFFA has received evidence that completed NSW RFS membership forms (with the opt-out of RFSA membership tick box checked) have been ignored by the NSW RFS. One particular Brigade has had five memberships dealt with in this way.
Personal information shall not be disclosed
The words, Personal information shall not be disclosed, have been taken directly from the NSW RFS Personal Information and Privacy Service Standard 1.1.14, Page 4, Version 2.4, dated 4th August 2014.
That NSW RFS Personal Information and Privacy Service Standard 1.1.14, clearly states:
3.13 Personal information shall not be disclosed to another person or body unless:
(a) the disclosure is directly related to the purpose for which the information was collected and there is no reason to believe that the person concerned would object to the disclosure
(b) the person from whom the information was collected is reasonably likely to have been aware or to have been made aware that information of that kind is usually disclosed to that other party