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Wednesday, 04 December 2013 13:28


Communications & Technology

Joint Committee -2 Minute Briefing

Issue 7, November 2013

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 10/11/2013)


CFA has advised that due to industrial negotiations as part of an EBA process at ESTA, the planned roll out of the digital radio dispatch migration commencing with District 12 will be delayed. With ESTA operator work bans in place, no training for console operators is possible and the planned 8th December 2013 cut over to digital radio dispatch in District 12 will now be delayed. CFA will advise all members of the changed timelines for migration based on this recent development.

On a positive note, CFA advises that the infrastructure development of the new digital network is progressing ahead of schedule by Telstra and that early field truth testing is providing excellent coverage and clarity results. At the same time the Tait radio reflash program is steaming ahead with this program well advanced and a necessary step in getting all CFA radios digital ready. Training programs are also well advanced with CFA keen to progress the training for members in spite of the delays to actual migration dates.


CFA has advised that two solutions to the issue of the redundancy of analogue Listening Sets have received CFA Executive Leadership Team endorsement.  First, CFA proposes to engage a provider to stream dispatch channel audio to internet subscribers and mobile devices such as smart phones and tablet devices.

The second part of the plan is the identification of suitable digital listening sets and the prospect of CFA obtaining special pricing from the vendors.  VFBV has advised CFA that while audio streaming is one good option, the demand for replacement listening sets, in either portable or base format, is as yet unknown.  CFA is about to test the market, seeking expressions of interest from vendors who may have products that would meet the users’ requirements.


The newly appointed CFA Executive Manager of Technology Services Justin Bree convened the first meeting of the this new Working Party. The question of CFA having data connectivity to all its shop fronts – its Brigades has long been an issue for resolution for VFBV. Many brigades proactively fund their own internet service by contract arrangements with independent service providers. The wide variety of connections, speeds, data upload and download capacities plus the difficulties of private email and access addresses makes the communication highway a very rutted and at times impassable track.

The intent and focus of this new working party is to identify the solutions and opportunities that may exist or are soon to emerge in providing brigades and senior authorised members with access to CFA data systems to assist in the day to day operations of their community service work. The future National Broadband Network capabilities may factor into better and price competitive options for Brigades and authorised members to link to the system. Opportunities for CFA negotiated service agreements and services forms part of VFBV’s objective in pursuing this initiative.


Evidence from volunteers across the VFBV network indicate that there is a widespread dissatisfaction with the performance, reliability and useability of the new Alpha Legend pager. All members are encouraged to report non-performance, to ring the 1800 EAS Pager Help Line to resolve your paging issues.

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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.