Category: Articles

AGM 2022

This year, the VFFA AGM and ordinary meeting will be held at Peak Hill Ex-Services and Citizens Club in memory of our Founding President, Peter Cannon OAM.

The date and venue details are as follows:

Peak Hill Ex-Services and Citizens Club
57/61 Caswell Street, Peak Hill NSW 2869
Saturday 6th August 2022
AGM times are 11.00 am – 12.00 pm.
Lunch at the Club
Ordinary Meeting from 1.00pm.

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COVID Vaccination Mandates

On the topic of COVID vaccination mandates and the requirement for volunteers to disclose their vaccination status, the question that should be asked is:

Would the NSW RFS refuse service delivery to members of the public who are not vaccinated or who choose not to disclose their vaccination status?

The answer is obviously “No”

Therefore, why mandate the requirement for volunteers to disclose their vaccination status or even be vaccinated at all.

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Frustrated volunteer firefighters ditch RFS brigades for independent ‘mozzie’ teams

Cathy Noakes walked away from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) in 2014, but she never quit firefighting.

After more than a decade of active service, three of them as captain of her brigade in Farringdon, Ms Noakes stepped down in frustration with the RFS bureaucracy.

“You weren’t allowed to just go and put out a fire,” she said. “You always had to wait for approval. So, as you waited, the fire just escalated.”

Instead, Ms Noakes joined the “mosquito army”, a network of community-based firefighting teams, that went on to play a vital role in firefighting efforts during the 2019-2020 bushfires around Braidwood in the NSW Southern Tablelands.

With their own firefighting gear and radios, local knowledge and experience, the “mozzies” worked in close partnership with their local brigades when RFS resources were stretched beyond their limit across the state.

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Benevolent Fund – Commissioners Update Sep 2021

On June 7 2020 a media release was issued by President Mr. Holton with a recommendation that a RFS Volunteer Benevolent Fund be set up from the $51M raised by Celeste Barber. In the recent Commissioner’s Update Sep 21 one of the new priorities was to establish the Benevolent Fund to assist the volunteer firefighters and their families. It is good to see an initiative of the VFFA for RFS volunteer members being followed up.

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Recognition of your Service

My medal proposal is different, in that everyone qualifies. Not everyone qualifies for the National Medal, or the National Emergency Medal, and it represents a certain event or period in time similar to a military campaign or General Service Medal. There is no Long Service Good Conduct Medal available to you either. My proposal is a medal that represents a gift to you from your nation that recognizes your services and commitment to the Australian community. It doesn’t just recognize your service on the fire ground it represents all those days and weeks of training beforehand, committee meetings and maintenance days and fund raisers. Not to mention the other emergencies you are required to attend like car accidents. It represents the gratitude we feel as a nation for all that time you are required to spend away from your families and those special days you miss.

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The Victim Summaries

The Victim summaries contained in this document are from volunteers and staff who have bravely contacted the author to express their destressing and desperate plights. What is clear in every case is that the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) knowing showed an arogenate 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, supressed 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. Dog Whistling and Gaslighting are common place and go unchecked even in the presence of senior RFS staff.

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Helicopters and Drones in prescribed burning

Bushfires are more difficult to put out in long unburnt, heavy fuels. Prescribed burning is important in reducing fuel loads and is undertaken periodically, is a milder burn, aiming to minimise crown scorch and usually only burns a portion of an area. It can be called prescribed burning, hazard reduction burning, controlled burning or ecological maintenance burning. Prescribed burning can use ground and aerial prescribed burning, the latter using aircraft to drop small incendiary capsules on a grid spacing that allows for mild burns and covering large areas safely. The mild burns are designed to join up late in the evening where conditions are cooler and the grid is designed for that to occur. It is important that flame heights are kept as low as possible and there are unburnt patches remaining.

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