Tag: Media Release

Local Councils vote to break away from RFS Involvement

MEDIA RELEASE
Friday, 15th June 2012

Local Councils vote to break away from Rural Fire Service Involvement

The Volunteer Firefighters Association (VFFA), the representative association for Volunteers of the NSW Rural Fire Service was saddened to hear of the outcome of the Local Government & Shires Association’s Annual Conference held in Sydney last week in which delegates overwhelmingly voted for withdrawal from the operations of the NSW Rural Fire Service.

Mr. Peter Cannon, President of the Volunteer Firefighters Association said that Local Councils have a long & highly successful history of supporting our volunteers within brigades & this dates back to a time when bushfire brigades were first formed…..they treated volunteers well & with great respect.

It is indeed sad that they have made their decision based on what they say is an overloaded RFS bureaucracy, having been treated with contempt & ineffective management of the RFS towards local Government…..this is a very sad day indeed; said Mr. Cannon.

Volunteers need the Local Councils to remain a part of what we do & the VFFA calls upon the NSW Government to conduct an inquiry into the running of the NSW Rural Fire Service & to work to salvage the Local Councils involvement with RFS Volunteers.

ENDS

Note:

Volunteer rural firefighters who wish to be informed on the position taken by the NSW Local Government and Shires Association are referred to the following link:

http://www.lgsa.org.au/news/media-release/media-release-shires-association-votes-council-operational-disengagement-rural

Media Enquiries:

Peter Cannon, VFFA President. Telephone 0428-697634.

About the VFFA:
The Volunteer Firefighters Association (VFFA) represents the volunteer firefighters of the NSW Rural Fire Service.

We do not represent any casual, part time or full time wages or salaried staff of the NSW Rural Fire Service.

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Volunteer Rural Fire-fighters could face prosecution under new WHS Laws

19 January 2012

The VFFA, the voice of the NSW volunteer rural fire-fighter is concerned that under the new safety laws, volunteer rural fire-fighters could be prosecuted if an accident occurs whilst protecting their communities from bushfires says President Peter Cannon.

Volunteer rural fire-fighters are now classified as “employees” under the new safety laws and face a legal duty of care to do what is “reasonably practicable” to prevent injury to themselves and others including members of the public.

We know that the duty of care will extend to any setting where volunteer rural fire-fighters are “conducting an undertaking” such as bushfire fighting, training, maintenance and fund raising activities. It means every decision a volunteer rural fire-fighter makes whilst on duty carries a risk of prosecution if an accident happens as a result of that a decision says Peter Cannon.

The level of bureaucratic red tape is expected to increase as the new safety laws require volunteers charged with running their local brigades such as the Brigade Captain and President to have the same level of expertise and resources you would expect of the senior executives of the RFS, which is completely unreasonable and unrealistic says Peter Cannon.

The ramifications of the new safety laws on volunteer rural fire-fighters are significant as breaches of the new safety laws means that volunteer rural fire fighters can face penalties of up to $300,000 or five years in jail.

The duty of care imposed under then new safety laws could cause volunteer’s numbers to decline at a time when volunteer numbers are already suffering. Many older and “retired” volunteer rural fire fighters in country NSW are concerned they may not be permitted on the fire ground under the new safety laws which would undermine the capacity of Rural Fire Brigades to provide protection to their local communities says Peter Cannon.

Retaining volunteers in positions of leadership in the RFS such as Brigade Captains could prove difficult as serving Officers now know they could be prosecuted if an accident occurs on the fire ground under their watch says Peter Cannon.

The fact is that fire fighting is a high risk occupation where things can and do go wrong and it grossly unfair that liability for accidents in such a high risk environment has now shifted to volunteers who could even be prosecuted for an accident even when acting in good faith says Peter Cannon.

The VFFA is calling on the RFS and NSW Government to immediately clarify what the new safety laws mean for volunteer for rural fire-fighters, provide appropriate training and resources to cope with the new safety laws and, most importantly reassure volunteers that they will be provided with appropriate support by the RFS if they are subject to prosecution under the new safety laws.

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VFFA Welcomes Review of Rural Fire Service Levy

MEDIA RELEASE

Friday, 15th June 2012

Review of Fire Service Levy

The Volunteer Firefighters Association of NSW, the representative association for Volunteers of the NSW Rural Fire Service welcomes the NSW State Governments decision to review the funding model for Emergency Services.

The Volunteer Firefighters Association has been campaigning for a more equitable model for the collection of funding for the Emergency Services in NSW since our association first began eight years ago.

Reform is urgently needed to ensure that all residents contribute to the cost of these services rather than just those who insure in NSW & offshore.

We look forward to an opportunity of working with the NSW Government in undertaking this revue.

Media Enquiries:

Peter Cannon, VFFA President. Telephone 0428-697634.

About the VFFA:
The Volunteer Firefighters Association (VFFA) represents the volunteer firefighters of the NSW Rural Fire Service.

We do not represent any casual, part time or full time wages or salaried staff of the NSW Rural Fire Service.

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