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Leadership styles on volunteer firefighter mental health and wellbeing – Research Study

Project title

Exploring the influence of leadership styles on volunteer firefighter mental health and wellbeing.

What does the research involve?

This study seeks to explore the impacts of COVID-19 on volunteer firefighter’s mental health and wellbeing. Specifically, the researchers are interested in whether these changes influence firefighter burnout and engagement in the workplace, and what factors foster positive outcomes during these uncertain and turbulent times. Factors which may improve volunteer firefighter mental health include resilience and exposure to leadership from supervisors.

If you consent to participate in this study, you will complete a brief questionnaire taking approximately 10–15 minutes. The survey begins by asking for your basic demographic information, before moving on to a range of validated scales. For each of these scales, you will respond by indicating how well certain statements describe your current circumstances.


Ashley McCuaig-Walton is a postgraduate student studying psychology at Monash University.

What are the benefits?

The benefits for firefighters who participate in this study include being able to contribute to new and practical research on firefighter mental health and wellbeing from a well-established university. As a small additional incentive, participants who complete the survey would also have the opportunity to enter a draw to win one of four $50 e-gift vouchers. Firefighters who take part in this study also can receive a copy of the results and a summary of the key findings from the study if requested.

How do I get involved?

The online survey has now closed and we thank everyone who participated.

Content Sharing

Victims of New South Wales Rural Fire Service

The Victim summaries contained in this document are from volunteers and staff who have bravely contacted the author to express their distressing and desperate plights. What is clear in every case is that the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) knowingly showed an arrogant disregard of its duty of care as an employer. It, the RFS, fosters a culture where reports of Bullying, Harassment, Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct were ignored, suppressed or dismissed. Complaints and grievances are systematically lost and investigations delayed and incompetently mishandled to the point complainants simply give up and leave the service. Retaliation is a common occurrence for victims of the RFS. It is common for a complainant to be the subject of a new counter complaint especially when the original complaint is about a Captain or other senior member of their Brigade.

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Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination in the RFS

The VFFA made a submission to an Upper House inquiry into Emergency Service Agencies on the 23rd of July 2017.
In that submission, the VFFA highlighted the following key issues:
• RFS failure to properly engage local knowledge.
• Prevalence of bullying, harassment and discrimination in the RFS.
• RFS disciplinary procedures do not provide appropriate procedural fairness and impartiality and have been developed in a way that appears to favour the salaried NSW RFS staff, not the volunteer.
• Nepotism, Favouritism and Similar Forms of Discrimination.

The VFFA also pushed for relocation of the RFS Headquarters to a regional area to break the city centric and ‘Boy’s Club’ culture that had developed.

A total or 27 recommendations were made to the NSW Government by the Legislative Council, Portfolio Committee No. 4 – Legal Affairs.

The NSW Government response was disappointing without any significant actions by the NSW RFS until the most recent display of interest by the current RFS Commissioner, Mr. Rogers.

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Addressing public inquiry recommendations – Emergency response agencies

The Auditor-General for New South Wales, Margaret Crawford, released a report today examining how effectively NSW emergency response agencies address public inquiry recommendations.

The audit found that agencies’ governance arrangements to address public inquiry recommendations have important and consistent gaps.

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Funeral Arrangements for Peter Joseph Cannon OAM

Dearly loved husband of Valerie.

Much loved father and father-in-law of Adam, Megan and Mitch, Todd and Clare, and Wade.

Adored Poppy of Tahlia, Max, Joey, Edith, Lucy, and Harriet.

The Cortège is appointed to leave St James’ Catholic Church, Peak Hill after a Requiem Mass commencing at 10.00 am, on Friday, April 23rd, 2021, for interment in the Catholic Portion of the Peak Hill Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, Donations to the peak Hill Hospital Auxiliary will be gratefully accepted at the service.

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A Question of Burning Urgency

Of all the factors that contribute to the intensity of a fire (temperature, wind speed, humidity, topography, fuel moisture and fuel load), only fuel load can be readily modified by human effort, but bearing in mind that since the industrial revolution it is now clear that humans have also modified the world’s temperature, and action on emissions may eventually assist to bring this down.

Citation: Emergency Leaders for Climate Action

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Fire and Blame

As bushfires peaked in the Australian summer of 2019-20, we heard a lot of the myth of climate change as the prime cause of the flames’ spread and severity. In this article, Christine Finlay addresses climate change and a second myth, mostly promoted by politicians and leaders of bushfire management organisations: that an appropriate response is to promise a thorough review of bushfire management (via royal commissions or otherwise) while pre-emptively pouring yet more taxpayer dollars into fire-fighting organisations and aerial firefighting, in particular. This is the latest instance of a repeated pattern, more likely to worsen rather than improve the situation.

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