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Response to Article in AVBFB Newsletter

By | Media Release, News

We have received a few phone calls from our members following an article that appeared in the Association of Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades (AVBFB) newsletter recently and we thought it timely to clarify this to our members.

We thank the AVBFB for highlighting some errors in the recently released Department of Fire & Emergency Services (DFES) Annual Report; however, in the interests of accuracy, we would like to correct a few errors and misconceptions put forward in their article.

Our association changed its name from Western Australian Volunteer Fire Brigades Association in 1998 following the change in our Service name to the Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service (VFRS). Our current name – Volunteer Fire & Rescue Services Association of WA (Inc) – was resolved at our AGM in September 2017.

There are currently 94 VFRS Brigades in Western Australia for whom DFES has direct responsibility – plus an additional 5 private Brigades that operate under MOU with mining companies. 90 of these Brigades (including all 5 private Brigades, plus Tammin Volunteer Fire & Emergency Service) are financial members of the VFRSA.

It should also be noted that the VFRS are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks of a year – dealing with not only landscape fires, but road crash rescue, structural fires and hazardous material incidents. In addition, as an integral part of their communities, they visit local schools, nursing homes and the like to reinforce fire safety messages – as well as assisting with reducing fire risks in their communities. In 2017/18 VFRS Brigades attended 5,622 incidents – including 2,318 fires and 972 rescues.

We believe it is disingenuous of the AVBFB to compare the funding of our Associations, given our Brigades are the responsibility of DFES, while Bush Fire Brigades are owned and operated by local government – a point they have been very vocal in supporting. Logically, the AVBFB should be seeking further support from local governments, over and above the generous grant currently received from the State.

It should be noted that our Association – in the interests of complete transparency – complies with both the spirit and intent of Associations Incorporation Act 2015; specifically, with regards to keeping lists of members and providing information to members when requested. This also includes circulating the minutes of each Executive meeting within 14 days of the meeting.The funding amounts listed in the DFES Annual Report are also misleading – the sum of $400,000 noted as being provided to our Association comprises an administration grant of $236,000 – the balance is a budget limit for the organisation and management of our VFRS competitions that is not always fully utilised. These competitions, both Junior and Senior, are an important feature of volunteer attraction and retention for DFES.

Brigades should by now have received their copy of the Association’s annual report and if you or your members have any queries with regards to the information contained within it, please contact the Association office.

VFRS and VFES Leaders Gather for Midwest Gascoyne Forum

By | News

Association Executive Officer Jodie Neuzerling joined DFES Regional staff and Brigade officers from the Midwest Gascoyne region when they gathered at the Geraldton VFRS on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th October for the Midwest Gascoyne Regional Forum for VFRS and VFES.  Over the two days, they received information sessions from a variety of presenters, including Chief Superintendent Paul Carr (DFES Direction and Objectives), Tamara Callaghan (Leadership Skills), DO John Wheelock (Mitigation and Strike Teams), Angie Molyneux (Health and Safety Matters) and David Evenis (Pathways and e-Academy).  At the end of the Forum, Superintendent Craig Smith ran a short question and answer session and EO Neuzerling provided a brief outline on what we are up to on behalf of our members.

Our thanks to Superintendent Craig Smith and his staff for organising the Forum and for their kind invitation to the Association to attend.  The dinner on Saturday night was a happy and noisy affair – with much frivolity.  Beware the Carnarvon and Mullewa boys – especially when they’re together – they’re not backward in enjoying themselves!

Reappointment of FES Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM

By | News

The Association was pleased to read the following announcement on the Public Sector Commissioner website on Friday 19th October:

The Public Sector Commissioner today announced that on 26 September 2018, the Governor in Executive Council approved the reappointment of Mr Darren Klemm to the office titled Commissioner, Department of Fire and Emergency Services for a five (5) year term commencing on 20 March 2019.

Mr Klemm was first appointed to Commissioner, Department of Fire and Emergency Services on 19 September 2017.

The reappointment followed consultation with the Minister for Emergency Services.

The Public Sector Commissioner extended her gratitude to Mr Klemm for his ongoing contribution to the Western Australian public sector.

We congratulate the Commissioner on his reappointment and look forward to continuing our strong working relationship with him to ensure Western Australian communities get the best Emergency Services possible.

DFES Operational Fleet Board

By | News

The Association has been invited to provide a representative on the DFES Operational Fleet Project Board, and as the Board position is a governance and management role, Executive Officer Jodie Neuzerling will be representing the VFRSA.  The initial meeting will be held this Friday, 26th October.

It is envisaged that the Board will:

  • provide advice, guidance and support to the Project Sponsor (Chief Superintendent Brad Delavale)
  • raise risks and issues identified by respective areas of responsibility (in our case the VFRS members)
  • assist in communicating project status updates to members
  • endorse change management and project methodologies
  • review and endorse fleet acquisition and project priorities
  • identify impacts that may affect the Operational Fleet Project

Project Advisory Teams (PATs) will be put together where required to discuss the operational aspects of specific appliance types and expressions of interest will be sought as and when they are required.

Youth Committee Meeting

By | News

The next meeting of the VFRSA / Arc Infrastructure Youth Committee will be held this Saturday, 27th October at the Association’s offices.  This will be the first time that all eight of the representatives will be in the one room since the AFAC Conference – where they ran amok, but seemed to also enjoy themselves 😊.

We welcome Callum O’Connell from Tom Price VFRS, who is joining us as the representative from the North West Zone.

If you have anything you’d like to raise with the Youth Committee (or you’d like further information on the Committee), please contact Kaitlyn at the Association office (admin@frsvols.asn.au) – we are in the process of creating a Youth Committee email address and this will be advised to all Brigades once available.

Operational Fleet Project – Inaugural Update

By | News

The new Operational Fleet Project has released its first update on their progress to date.

As you can see, it is relatively early in the process but with a renewed operational focus and a purpose specific project team, we are expecting a much better outcome than the previous fleet project.

It should be noted that much of the initial Association consultation has been focused on governance of the project and that individual Project Teams will be created as required with regards to the operational component of the fleet.  We will be seeking expressions of interest from our members as and when these teams are being formed.

Chief Superintendent Delavale is happy to receive any suggestions or information you feel may be of benefit, however please be aware that his available time may be limited due to the scope of the project.  If you wish to contact the project team, you can do so at operationalfleetproject@dfes.wa.gov.au

If you have any queries with regards to the contents of the update, please do not hesitate to contact the Association office.


Update on Group Call Replacement

By | News

Brigades would have received Operational Circular 71-2018 – Group Call Replacement Project, Outcomes of Launch Rollback – via email from the Association office on Friday 5th October (as part of the DFES Circulars issued 21/09 to 05/10).

Captains/Secretaries should make Brigade members aware of the new number that will appear (08 6173-7200) on their phones.  In addition, each Brigade has been assigned a new “Alert Number” to allow them to initial group calls themselves.  This is available from the Association office.

If your Brigade initiates Group Calls for your members, please contact Executive Officer Jodie Neuzerling via email executive@frsvols.asn.au and this will be provided to you.  Note, the number will not be provided to personal or work email addresses and will only be provided to the Brigade’s official email address.

If you have any queries, please contact Jodie.

Grants Available – Targeted Participation Program

By | News

Applications are now open for Targeted Participation Program funding, aimed at delivering positive physical and mental health benefits to people across WA.  The Program is a partnership between Healthway and the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.

Individual project grants of up to $50,000 are now available and the Association is happy to apply on behalf of member Brigades if they have projects they believe fall into the categories of the grants.  Note:  if your Brigade has an ABN then you can apply for the grants yourselves.

More information can be found at www.dsr.wa.gov.au/tpp and applications close 31st October.

2018 VFRSAWA DFES Annual State Junior Championships

By | News

A reminder to all Junior Brigades that the 2018 VFRSAWA DFES Annual State Junior Championships will be held at Gil Frazer Reserve (Cnr John and Johanna Streets, North Fremantle) on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th November.

Nomination forms have been emailed to Brigades, but if you have not received them, please contact Kaitlyn at the Association office via email admin@frsvols.asn.au

Call for Interested Parties!

By | News

The Association is always looking for interested members of the VFRS who are happy to be contacted for opinions / feedback on particular issues (such as training, PPC, PPE or appliances – just to name a few).  If you or one of your members is interested in being part of this, please have them contact EO Jodie Neuzerling at executive@frsvols.asn.au.