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Friday, 10 October 2014 00:00

Joint Community Safety Committee - 2 Minute Briefing August 2014

Issue 10: August 2014

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 30/08/14)

2014 Annual Community Safety Forum

This year’s forum was yet again another huge success, with a record 390 members attending, from 185 Brigades.

The Committee reviewed feedback from this year’s participants, with an overwhelming number of responses rating the weekend as exceptional. This is now the fourth year of the Annual Forum, and its continued growth and success is directly attributed to its bottom up design and construct which see’s volunteers actively designing and running the weekend, with vols speaking to vols in the conduct of the majority of plenary and workshop sessions. The Committee congratulates the Volunteer Reference Group on another successful year, and also commends Jamie Devenish, CFA’s Member Engagement Project Manager, for his untiring support and enthusiasm to this annual event.

IFMP AUDIT

In response to the Committees continued calls for reform of the IFMP process, CFA has commissioned an external audit by KPMG, to audit and review the effectiveness of Brigade involvement in IFMP at the municipal level.

The draft report has vindicated the Committees concerns, with its key findings that CFA could better facilitate and improve volunteer and Brigade involvement in the process and address the perceived gaps between the new IFMP process and the former MFPC structure.

The report now provides CFA with substantive data and provides recommendations on how to address the shortfalls. CFA has agreed to reconstitute the IFMP State Committee, and VFBV is looking forward to working with CFA to implement an action plan that will better support and encourage strong Brigade involvement in the IFMP process.

CHANGES TO VICTORIAN PLANNING PROVISIONS (BMO)

The Committee received a detailed briefing on Amendment VC109 which includes significant changes to the bushfire controls contained in the Victorian Planning Provisions. One of the most significant changes has been the modification in some places from CFA being a “determining referral authority” to now only being a “recommending referral authority”. As a recommending referral authority CFA still provides advice in relation to an application, however the local Council is no longer bound to follow CFA’s advice. This is a significant change & will need to be monitored, as under the previous legislation Council was bound to follow CFA’s advice and apply any conditions CFA imposed on an application.

Other changes include alterations to defendable space requirements, provision of acceptable bushfire protection measures, construction standards, and the ability for removal of vegetation within defendable space.

CFA is currently considering the impact of these changes, and are seeking clarification from Department of Transport, Planning & Local Infrastructure who are responsible for the legislation.

CHIEF OFFICERS INTENT STATEMENT: COMMUNITY PREPAREDNESS & FIRE PREVENTION

This year, it has been proposed that the Chief Officer issue an intent statement for this upcoming fire season that sets out his expectations for community preparedness and fire prevention. The statement will provide guidance and clarity that will allow Brigades & Staff to prioritize activities according to local risk, key needs and the availability of resources. It is hoped that as a result, Communities will be safer and more resilient due to fire prevention plans and actions having reduced the impact of fire on communities and assets, and those at risk are aware of their risk and ready to respond to warnings and advice. The need to change community attitudes was a popular discussion point at this year’s forum.

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CFA Volunteers are the unpaid professionals of our Emergency Services. VFBV is their united voice, and speaks on behalf of Victoria's 60,000 CFA Volunteers.

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