Dear VFFA Members, Friends, Supporters and Sponsors
You are invited to join us for an important General Meeting to be held at the Murrumbateman Inn (near Yass) at 9am on Saturday April 1st 2017.
Yes… we do realise that this date is April Fools Day, but only a fool would deny that the voice of the volunteer firefighter in NSW is gaining strength, volume and resolve.
Last year’s meeting (at this location) drew over one hundred people from around NSW along with a number of media representatives including the ABC’s Landline Programme.
We expect to have some of those affected by the Sir Ivan fire in attendance along with representatives from NSW Farmers Association. As such, we are expecting this meeting to be quite feisty and productive.
Morning and Afternoon Tea will be provided and a pub style lunch can be purchased. Sorry, but we don’t have millions of dollars in the bank to put on a five star show like other associations, you will have to buy your own lunch. Having said that, we do offer support for those who may be facing financial hardship on a case by case basis, please contact your VFFA Rep if you need assistance.
Currently accommodation at Murrumbateman is full but there is plenty available at Yass (only ten minutes away). Give us a shout if you need assistance securing accommodation.
We hope you can make it on the day.
The VFFA is reviewing it’s constitution and seeking comments or feedback from our members.
This post includes a link to download a copy of the VFFA Constitution rewrite 2017 (Draft3) in a PDF format.
This will allow volunteer members to view the document before the general meeting on 1 Apr 17 at Murrumbateman.
The VFFA has received numerous complaints from volunteers who are bullied, harassed and pushed aside when they dare to speak out against issues that contradict the direction of the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS). In more recent times, The NSW RFS has openly targeted RFS Brigades and individuals that have openly supported the VFFA.
The VFFA is dedicated to ensuring that ALL volunteers (not limited to VFFA members) are provided with a voice. The VFFA respects that all persons (RFSA members, all volunteers and staff) deserve an opportunity to provide input into the future direction of the NSW RFS.
The VFFA conducted a survey of volunteers over a period of 9 months (21st May 2016 to 6th March 2017) with the following results:
Click the Read More button to view the results page.
The VFFA is concerned that in NSW volunteer rural fire-fighters who are subject to disciplinary action and who lodge grievances against paid staff have no option than to place faith in a system that is owned, controlled and arbitrated by the RFS.
Under the NSW Rural Fires Regulation 1997 a member of a rural fire brigade can be guilty of a breach of discipline if they are negligent, careless, inefficient or incompetent in the discharge of their duties. Hence the grounds for bringing discipline charges against a volunteer rural fire fighter are very broad, poorly defined and wide open to interpretation.
Volunteers and auxiliary firefighters with all major fire services across Australia were invited by the Council of Australian Volunteer Fire Associations (CAVFA) to participate in a nationwide survey that takes volunteer opinions and advice direct to Government and Emergency Management sector decision makers.
A VFFA Annual General Meeting is being held at the Parkes Services Club on Saturday August 6th, 2016 from 10.00am to 11:00am.
It will be followed by an ordinary meeting from 11.30am to 5.00pm at the same venue with a lunch break in the Services Club Bistro from 12.30pm to 1.30pm.
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.
Have volunteers lost control of local firefighting?
Who has experienced this type of behaviour on the fire ground?
Is bullying and harassment going on in the RFS?
Has anyone been directly impacted either personally or knows someone?
Have we lost experienced and long standing volunteers as a result of the bullying?
How do we rectify this problem?
The RFSA is sitting on $9,788,262 (ref: NSW RFSA Annual Financial Report – 31 March 2015).
This article poses the question “what is the RFSA doing with all that money?” and looks at the fund raising activities of the RFSA.
There has been many occasions where the VFFA has been approached by the public with questions on fundraising activities. The VFFA has informed those people that we do not conduct telephone based fund raising therefore it must be an RFSA call centre.
When you get that phone call requesting support for Rural Brigades, how much of your money gets there?
The NSW Rural Fire Service published a reviewed Service Standard that relates to the use of Social Media on 23 November 2015.
The Social Media Service Standard states that members must not post information on social media which could:
a. be misleading or deceptive;
b. result in bullying, victimisation or harassment;
c. lead to criminal penalty or civil liability;
d. divulge confidential or sensitive information;
e. reasonably be found to be vexatious, offensive, obscene, threatening, abusive, defamatory or culturally insensitive; or
f. be interpreted to be of a commercial or political nature.
Sadly, there are plenty of cases where bullying and inappropriate comments have been made on social media and other electronic media platforms.