The VFFA is a signatory to The Howitt Society’s Letter to the Prime Minister urging Scott Morrison to reinstate the Royal Commission enquiry into land and vegetation management.
In a major win for our aerial firefighting capability, Coulson has attracted Chris Smallhorn to the job of Australian CEO.
Coulson are the global aerial firefighting experts and are doing a fantastic job of knowledge transfer to Australians. Read more about Chris Smallhorn and the expertise he brings to the new role here …
“Some of the $51 million that was raised through the actions of Celeste Barber and the generosity of the donors, should be directed to the Volunteers and Brigades who many people believed they were donating to” said Mr. Mick Holton VFFA President.
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.
March 21, 2018
Reedy Swamp, Bega (Tathra Fire)
The Tathra Fire was a terrible tragedy for all involved. The Volunteer Fire Fighters Association (VFFA) has decided to publish the following 6 points in response to the media generated interest.
1. Firefighters did a good job
The firefighters did a great job, but they can only do so much on a bad day.
2. Less Fuel equals Less Fire
A lot of fuel on a bad day is a recipe for disaster. This situation will only get worse if we don’t change our approach to land management.
Hazard reduction in NSW deals with approximately 1% of bush fire prone land each year (that’s 100 years of work to get the job done). Bush fire scientists (the likes of Phil Cheney) state that we should be treating more like 8% of bush fire prone land annually.
Less fuel will result in lower intensity fires (less fire). Proper land management is vital to protecting the environment, animals, human lives, our property and our way of life. Big fires can destroy everything in their path, but the right fire can prevent the destruction…
The VFFA is deeply concerned at the current turmoil facing Volunteer fire fighters in the Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA). Their 60,000 Volunteers are the backbone of the CFA, they contribute an enormous amount.
I find this response disappointing to say the least. The response denies any liability that government agencies inclusive of National Parks and the Rural Fire Service responsible for fire management in the area at the time acted in a negligent manner. It is clear that prior and during the fire wrong decisions were made and clear protocols were not adhered to leading to a catastrophic situation.
A number of landholders neighbouring the National Park were tragically affected by the actions of government agencies and we have a responsibility to make good on this. Hiding behind the claims manager is not the Nationals way of doing things and I do not accept the response to date.
The Volunteer Fire Fighters Association (VFFA) congratulates the NSW State Government on the news that an Emergency Services Property Levy will replace the current insurance based model.
This is a much fairer system of collecting funds for firefighting and state emergency services in NSW, it will spread the financial burden of the emergency services levy, and means that the majority of property owners will pay less.
Mr Elliott claims that we now have 74,516 volunteers in the RFS.
We disagree with that claim, but don’t take our word for it, ask around for yourself. Go to a few country towns and ask the local Brigade how many people they have on the books, then ask how many are actively engaged in the day to day activities of that Brigade.