Included in this post is a copy of the NSW Governments response to the final report of the NSW Legislative Council, Portfolio Committee No. 4 – Legal Affairs entitled Emergency Services Agencies, tabled with the Clerk of the Legislative Council on 24 July
The Government’s response to the Fire and Emergency Services Levy report of the NSW Legislative Council (Portfolio Committee No. 4 – Legal Affairs) was tabled with the Clerk of the Legislative Council on the 30th of November 2018.
The Government’s response to the report was received by the committee on the 18 January 2019.
State governments and fire authorities are failing to act upon reports, royal commissions, inquiries, local knowledge and in particular, the knowledge of Indigenous Australians.
It is interesting that climate change is used as a diversionary tactic but the fact remains: more fuel equals hotter fires and these hot fires are destroying our environment, our homes, our way of life and placing the lives of people at risk.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that hot fires must be avoided. We have to return to cool burning and other land management practices (including selected agricultural clearing and grazing) if we are going to sustain our environment and lifestyle into the future.
A FEDERAL Parliamentary inquiry will be held into Queensland’s bushfires as the State Government bluntly rejects calls from farmers, lobby groups and Prime Minister Scott Morrison for a judicial inquiry.
NSW has the same problems.
The Fire and Emergency Services Levy report has been released by the Portfolio Committee No. 4 – Legal Affairs.
The report was tabled on Friday 30 November 2018, it is available on the Parliament NSW website, along with submissions, transcripts of evidence and other documents associated with the inquiry.
The report and its recommendations are now with the government for consideration.
On the 15th of November 2018, the Upper House resolved that Standing Order 233 be varied so as to require that the government provide the response to the committee’s report by the 28th of February 2019.
The media has become interested in the need for major reform after the release of the NSW Upper House report, entitled Emergency Services Agencies NSW.
The audio file (below) was captured on Wednesday 25th July, by a VFFA supporter as he listened to an interview with the VFFA President, Mick Holton by Graeme Gilbert of the 2SM Super Radio Network.
Mr Gilbert gave our association approximately twenty eight minutes of air time.
The 2SM Super Radio Network broadcasts across Sydney, many rural and regional areas of NSW.
Comments and feedback are most welcome.
The audio file is provided is this post.
The Volunteer Fire Fighters Association (VFFA) President Mick Holton says he is encouraged by the release of the NSW Upper House report, entitled Emergency Services Agencies NSW.
The report focused heavily upon bullying and harassment in the NSW Emergency Services.
“The report confirms what many NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteers have known for a long time – that bullying, harassment and abuse of power is occurring in the RFS” said Mr. Holton.
“The VFFA recognises the courage of RFS volunteers and salaried staff in coming forward and working with the Portfolio Committee No. 4 – Legal Affairs, during this Upper House inquiry.”
“Volunteering with the RFS should be non-threatening, respectful, safe and free from all forms of bullying and harassment.”
“All volunteers have the right not to bullied or discriminated against in the RFS” said Mr. Holton.
“We are pleased to continue to lead and to participate in efforts to support volunteers who have suffered bullying and harassment in the RFS and will continue to challenge and call out this unacceptable behaviour,” said Mr. Holton.
The VFFA welcomes the release of the report and calls on NSW Government and the RFS to adopt all the recommendations of the Upper House Inquiry into Emergency Service Agencies.
Major Reform is Required.
The Bega Valley Fires Independent Review was commissioned by the NSW State Government in response to public pressure and media interest in the Reedy Swamp Fire that occurred on 18 March 2018, and subsequently impacted on the township of Tathra.
The media reported a long-standing turf war between the two predominant fire services in NSW and the Minister for Police and Emergency Services responded with an announcement that Mr Keelty will be conducting a full review for the government so that we don’t get these questions in the future.
The VFFA welcomes any opportunity to openly and transparently review and debate topics that impact upon public safety and the provision of emergency services to the people of NSW.
This post contains the VFFA response to this review other related documentation.
The VFFA is concerned that the voices of all persons (including our volunteer firefighters) is being muffled at the hands of political influence and manipulation.
How many government inquiries does it take to bring about change?
The issues surrounding turf wars have been around for a long time but those with empires to build don’t wish to discuss options.
A Trigger Point for Change – The NSW Government have never been able to settle upon a trigger point that is used to activate a change in firefighter engagement.
The NSW RFS Operational Brief seems contradictory and is included in this post.
In the interest of promoting an open and honest debate, the VFFA has decided to publish our submission. We hope that other groups will do the same.
The VFFA is somewhat disappointed in the way that this inquiry has been handled as follows:
1. The timeframes for groups to make submissions was very short and rushed
2. The information regarding the review was not actively promoted by the NSW State Government, and
3. What is happening with the referral of this fire to the Coroner?
One could be excused for thinking that the NSW State Government just wants these problems to go away, particularly with an election just around the corner.
The VFFA is promoting open debate from all persons involved. This includes the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS), Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW), NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Forestry Corporation of NSW, the Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA), the Volunteer Fire Fighters Association (VFFA), the Fire Brigades Employees Union (FBEU), the insurance companies and most importantly, the firefighters (from all fire services) and the public of NSW.
Click the Read More link to see the VFFA submission.