Since the Fire Services Statement was launched on 19 May 2017, CFA leadership, as well as Government representatives have made approximately 70 visits across the State to discuss and explain the reforms.
These are important and complex reforms, and naturally there have been a lot of questions, and such forums have been a valuable opportunity to address these.
Over the course of this engagement, a series of questions have emerged as the most frequently asked. This document is intended to help clarify some of the most commonly asked about areas.
Updated 10 August 2017
The Select Committee's Interim Report was tabled in Parliament on 8 August 2017. The Interim Report outlined the establishment of the Committee, the process undertaken, detail on the public hearings and included transcripts of all hearings.
The Interim Report summarised issues raised through the inquiry including:
- the case for a fire service restructure
- linkage of ‘presumptive rights’ legislative provisions with fire services restructure legislative provisions
- proposed amendments to the metropolitan fire district
- changing demands on volunteers
- recruitment, retention and supporting of volunteers
- the need to improve interoperability between fire services, such as equipment, training and processes
- impact of industrial relations disputes on morale in the fire services
- government consultation on the reforms proposed in the Bill
- whether the proposed reforms will impact on surge capacity
- secondment arrangements proposed in the Bill
- impact on integrated brigades
- importance of response times.
These issues will be considered in preparing the Committee’s final report and a copy of the Interim Report can be found here.
Chief Officer Steve Warrington outlined matters relating to the response time data in a communication to CFA staff and volunteers.
The Committee intends to table a final report in mid-August 2017.
This process provided an important opportunity for government to engage with CFA staff, volunteers and the broader community about reform of Victoria’s fire services.
Since the release of the Fire Services Statement, Ministers and senior fire and emergency leadership made approximately 70 visits across the State, speaking with over 2,600 firefighters, volunteers and staff.
In addition, discussion on the proposed reforms took place at routine meetings and a number of reform specific briefings held across CFA. It is estimated that approximately 50 per cent of CFA brigades were represented at such meetings. It has enabled a large number of volunteers to discuss the proposed reforms either directly with CFA staff or indirectly through brigade leadership who had been briefed by CFA staff.
About the Fire Services Reform
A key component of the reform will be the establishment of new organisation called Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) to service metropolitan Melbourne and major regional centres.
FRV will bring together MFB and CFA career firefighters from our 35 integrated stations to service areas currently being covered by integrated stations.
This means CFA career firefighters and some support staff will transition to FRV. CFA will provide comprehensive support to this group of staff. There will be no job losses or redundancies for career firefighters and staff.
The government has also announced a $100 million package comprised of:
- Establishing a $56.2 million CFA Support Fund to strengthen volunteer recruitment, retention and training options, expand brigade support and develop leadership and
- Creating an Emergency Services Infrastructure Authority, which will co-ordinate and deliver new facilities including a $44 million CFA station program.
These reforms will deliver better training, brigade support and equipment for volunteers across Victoria.
Importantly, the government will also introduce new laws to give all firefighters equal access to compensation for cancers contracted in the line of duty. This means all firefighters will have greater certainty in being able to access compensation benefits for specified cancers.
What does this mean for volunteers?
- CFA's 1,220 volunteer brigades will continue to serve and protect their communities just as they always have.
- CFA volunteer brigades will continue to operate under the leadership of CFA's Chief Officer.
- Volunteers will remain integral to Victoria’s response to fires and other emergencies, particularly in campaign and surge events.
- Individual brigades will continue to have assignment areas. In areas where FRV will be designated as the first responders, volunteer surge capacity and back-up responses will be preserved.
- Tailored support will be provided for volunteers at the 35 integrated stations where career firefighters will transfer to FRV.
- We will work with volunteers in the 35 integrated stations to identify the best solution for each volunteer and each brigade.
It's important to reiterate that this package will protect surge capacity, and it is designed to deliver better service throughout Victoria.
Got a question?
If you have any questions you can contact our dedicated information line for CFA staff and volunteers by calling 1300 339 558.
Alternatively, questions or comments can be submitted via email to email@example.com.
CFA has a range of support services and resources available including:
- Peer Support Program - trained members offering support & guidance - contact your local Peer Coordinator (requires login, CFA Members only)
- Member Assistance Program - a 24-hour confidential and external counselling service - 1300 795 711
- Chaplaincy - 1800 337 068
- Manager Assist - confidential coaching, support and advice for managers - 1300 795 711
These services are confidential, free of charge and available to all CFA members and their immediate families.