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Friday, 05 July 2024 15:37

July 2024 Newsletter

Written by

Further budget woes 
By Adam Barnett, VFBV Chief Executive Officer 

Last month I opined that we had very little clarity of CFA’s budget for the year ahead, due to it being buried within the Department of Justice and Community Safety.

Shortly after our last newsletter went to print, the Government tabled answers to questions taken on notice through the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee that was held in Parliament on Friday 24 May, 2024.

These figures confirm that there is a further reduction to the CFA budget, with the estimated grant payment to CFA for the 2024/25 period set at $337.6 million. This is a reduction of $4million when compared to the 2023 grant, and you have to go back 15 years to find a CFA budget of similar size. This is despite the Government collecting $1.03 billion in levy, which includes a $186 million increase on households this year alone. Working backwards, and knowing the FSL may only contribute 77.5% of CFA’s funding, we can conclude CFA’s share of the FSL will be just $261.6m.

And while a $4 million cut may not sound like a lot to some, in an organisation already starved of funding, the impacts are brutal. Given VFBV has been pursuing numerous health and safety initiatives to further protect the health of all CFA volunteers, these initiatives will be difficult to achieve with further cuts to CFA’s budget.

And inequities abound.

For example, while FRV firefighters have all their uniforms, personal protective clothing, and laundry professionally cleaned and paid for by the taxpayer, CFA volunteers are still expected to take their putrid bushfire PPC home after an incident and wash it themselves. Sounds like a first world problem to some until you pause to think about the potential for cross contamination from all the carcinogenic toxins our PPC is frequently exposed to mixing in with the families’ washing machine.

And while I am outraged that this continues to be an issue in 2024, CFA continues to be put into this terrible position of trying to prioritise funding across critical areas, when frankly every spare cent is being ploughed into the fleet budget to try and keep CFA’s ageing fire trucks on the road. Confirmation has also been received noting that 474 CFA trucks are older than 26 years, with 230 more than 31 years old!

How then is the organisation expected to manage contemporary issues such as station upgrades to appeal to a more gender diverse membership, equipment maintenance, health and safety support, shortages of personal protective clothing, or replacement workwear or uniforms?

Let’s use workwear as an example. Putting aside that not every CFA volunteer was provided a set, with the gear having to be rationed out to fit the budget envelope - many do not realise that this was one-off funding, and there has been no government investment in providing workwear for new members, let alone the cost of replacing worn out or damaged gear. Despicably, volunteers are asked to buy it themselves when this occurs.

The same for CFA’s next generation bushfire PPC and the structural helmets issued a couple of years ago. Each of these represents an increased cost as while next generation materials provide superior protection, they are more expensive, yet the Government has only provided funding for the initial rollouts. There have been no increases to CFA’s base funding to support CFA with these increased ongoing costs, which means gear is again being rationed out by the Districts.

With no increases to budgets for five years in a row, these costs are having to be absorbed into existing budgets which are already stretched paper thin. Add a budget cut (or five) and you are left with a dystopian version of the hunger games playing out across the State.

My message to members is that VFBV will not stop calling out these hypocrisies and raising awareness about the dire nature of CFA’s funding, and we hope you do too. This is the only way that we can pressure government to provide CFA with its fair share of the funding collected by the fire service levy. At present, millions of dollars are being siphoned from residents living in CFA areas to cover the out of control costs of others.

The disparity is glaring. It costs the taxpayer $283,000 a year to run each of CFA’s 1,209 fire stations across Victoria, yet it costs the taxpayer $10.3 million a year to run each of FRV’s 85 fire stations. And rather than thank volunteers for their generous contribution by properly resourcing them – government would rather poke them in the eye and cut what little funding is already given.

Let’s also talk about the fact that CFA volunteers don’t make ambit claims. The issues VFBV is pursuing on behalf of volunteers are those supported by volunteers through our extensive District Council network and prioritised by volunteers. Our members ask us to seek cost efficient outcomes, knowing that every expense is borne by the taxpayer. CFA volunteers are doing their bit and can hold their heads high. By running Victoria’s most efficient fire service, you are freeing up vital funding that can be used for hospital beds, schools and other essential services. But that generosity is increasingly being abused. When we see waste, when we see spiralling costs and growing bureaucracies from others across the sector that are simply diluting the funding available to everyone else – we must all call it out.

While we will continue to pressure CFA about ensuring its internal spending and prioritisation is as efficient and fair as possible, don’t let Government MPs off the hook. They are ultimately responsible for CFA’s funding and their appalling record of five years of CFA cuts.

CFA is being backed into a corner and is being forced to ration and cut costs to meet an ever-decreasing budget. Rather than unleash on CFA because they happen to be the ones in front of you, please assist us by applying pressure to your local government MPs. Many of you don’t think it makes any difference, but history shows otherwise. Phone, write or meet with them. Ask them how much of the $186 million extra revenue they are collecting is going towards CFA.

DEPARTURE OF CFA CEO NATALIE MacDONALD

After describing the poor budget situation, I can’t say I was completely shocked to learn about CFA’s Chief Executive, Natalie MacDonald departing early.

How could anyone that cares for Victorian communities and the whole CFA family as much as any CFA leader does - not be impacted by the constant cost cutting, hypocrisy and financial mismanagement on display.

Given this will be the fifth year in a row of budget contractions for CFA, imagine how that makes a tough job even tougher.

To be fair, Natalie has advised that she is leaving for personal reasons, of which I understand and empathise completely. I suggest however, that these personal challenges may not have been so overwhelming if CFA was being properly supported by the whole of Government, and CFA was being treated fairly.

Following the appointment of a new CFA Chair just last month, I know many volunteers are fearful we are seeing the return of the great instability in senior officers and the loss of corporate memory like we saw during the start of this government’s fire service reform journey. And while I share these concerns, there are some differences.

We have had three to four years of relative leadership stability, which while historically this is not very long, it is significantly better than the six CEO’s we saw cycle through the organisation in as few years during the height of reform.

I also wish to acknowledge the strong foundations and legacy that Natalie will leave behind.

I have enjoyed a close and constructive working relationship with Natalie since her appointment to the role, and can attest to her passion, intelligence and drive to further CFA’s mission. I can similarly attest to the empathy and integrity she has demonstrated while going about it, especially at times under very trying circumstances. Her loyalty has always been to CFA and the communities in which we all serve.

There have certainly been difficult decisions needing to be made. Decisions that perhaps she didn’t agree, and probably a few she looks back in hindsight and regrets. But among those are plenty of decisions and initiatives which I think have changed CFA for the better.

CFA has firmly pivoted to embracing and celebrating the fact that it is a volunteer and community embedded fire service. Natalie has led and supported key initiatives that embed the volunteer charter and its section 6 obligations into the DNA of the organisation. And while its implementation is far from perfect, nor complete - genuine change takes time.

We have stronger CFA/VFBV joint committees, stronger processes to navigate what is increasingly often broad and disparate volunteer feedback, and we have built a trust and respect that honours and respects the unique role each organisation plays. Under Natalie’s leadership CFA and VFBV have reaffirmed that we are committed to working constructively together, disagreeing when we must – but always committed to listening and considering the needs of our volunteers.

In this sense, I will feel a real loss and sadness when Natalie finishes up at the end of this month. With the passage of time and reflection I hope she shares my pride in her legacy and the solid foundations she has set for the next person taking the baton. Natalie has also confirmed she intends on continuing as a CFA volunteer with her local brigade.

As I tell every CEO, they are merely a temporary custodian of an iconic organisation that breathes, bleeds and effects all who toil within, whether that’s for a day, a year, a decade, or even a lifetime. I know CFA touched Natalie, and I would like to think it was also touched by her. And while I’ll quietly admit that she could at times be a force to be reckoned with, I don’t mind admitting I enjoyed almost every minute of it.

Thank-you Natalie for your outstanding stewardship of CFA, and the respect you have always shown towards our members and towards VFBV. We sincerely thank you for your efforts and the improvements you have made.

We will miss you at the helm but look forward to your continued journey as a fellow CFA volunteer which is the ultimate sign of respect you could choose to bestow on the organisation and the communities it protects.

Well done, bon voyage and don’t put those yellows too far out of reach….summer is coming.

VALE

VFBV were saddened to learn of the passing of Association Life Member Graeme Dare in late May.

Graeme was a member of the Colac brigade for more than 50 years and served as an Executive Member to the Victorian Urban Fire Brigades Association from 1984 until 2007 representing then Region 6. For his service to the Association Graeme was awarded Association Life Membership in 1994 and a Gold Star Award.

On behalf of VFBV and all fellow CFA volunteers, we offer our deepest condolences to Graeme’s family, friends, loved ones, the Colac brigade and fellow firefighters at this sad time.


 

Group FCVs
VFBV delegates on the Joint Equipment and Infrastructure Committee have worked tirelessly over a number of years to demonstrate to CFA the shortfall in annual Group allowances to cover the realistic cost of the annual servicing and maintenance of forward command vehicles (FCVs).

Given the critically important role these vehicles play and acknowledging that Groups are quite limited in the amount and type of fundraising that they can do so as not to impact on their brigade’s own efforts, VFBV has been arguing for an increase to Group allowances to cover the full cost of FCV servicing.

As of the 1 July, CFA has agreed to move all Group FCVs onto the centralised Fleet plan, which will mean all servicing (as per manufacturers servicing schedule), tyre and battery replacements will now be billed directly to CFA. Groups may also continue to use their local service providers, ensuring you can still support your local community.

This is an outstanding result, and VFBV thanks all delegates for their efforts. We also acknowledge and thank CFA for considering this request, acknowledging that current CFA budgets make initiatives such as this very difficult.

New windscreen stickers are being distributed to Groups, along with correspondence requesting Groups make contact with their nominated service providers to make them aware of the central billing arrangement.

 

King’s Birthday Honours
VFBV congratulates CFA members Stephen Hicks from Pakenham Upper brigade and Deputy Chief Officer Gavin Thompson who received the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) among 730 Australian’s honoured in the King’s Birthday Honours list this year.

Deputy Group Officer Stephen Hicks AFSM has been a member of CFA for more than 49 years. He has been recognised for his outstanding service to CFA as a leader, trainer and mentor and for his efforts and achievements in fire preparedness, fire prevention and fire response.

Deputy Chief Officer Gavin Thompson AFSM began his service to CFA as a junior member at Bayswater and progressed through the volunteer ranks before joining CFA as a recruit firefighter. Gavin has been recognised for his commitment above and beyond what is normally expected of fire service personnel as well as his efforts in developing those around him to enhance the capacity of CFA and CFA volunteers.

VFBV congratulates Stephen and Gavin for their outstanding contribution to CFA and broader community.

Congratulations are also extended to the current and former members of CFA who were honoured with the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) and to James Mullins who was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his significant contribution to firefighting.

 

Affiliation
Again in 2023/24, CFA Brigades and Groups showed it is more important than ever that volunteers have a strong, united, independent and credible voice with almost 95% of Brigades demonstrating strong support for VFBV’s important work representing and advocating for all CFA volunteers. Thank you to all brigades and groups that affiliated last year.

Brigade and Group secretaries have received the 2024/25 renewal notices for VFBV Affiliation and Welfare Fund subscriptions with a due date of 30 June, 2024.

The Board is determined that brigades/groups should benefit from the strong governance of the association and have reduced the affiliation rate from $84 to $75.

We strongly encourage Brigades to also subscribe to the VFBV Welfare Fund. The Welfare Fund is a capital fund and an exclusive benefit to affiliated members with VFBV funding all the administration and operating costs ensuring 100% of funds received go directly to CFA volunteers experiencing personal hardship.

The VFBV Welfare Fund provides small grants up to $5,000 to assist volunteer members and long service ex members. The Welfare Fund has distributed more than $2.5 million dollars to volunteers in need since its inception.

 

VFBV Board

Vacancies on the VFBV Board will arise when the terms of four VFBV Board members expire on 1 October 2024. Of the four members whose terms are expiring, two are eligible for re-appointment.

VFBV invites applications from any CFA volunteer who is motivated by the prospect of making a difference and believes they have the skills to contribute to the VFBV Board.

The role of a board member involves contributing to VFBV direction, policy determination and monitoring the performance and governance of the Association. This includes actively contributing to policy discussion, consulting with CFA volunteers and contributing to the identification and management of strategic issues.

VFBV is seeking applications from gender and culturally diverse candidates in addition to a diverse range of skills and experience including applications from diverse brigade types and classifications.

Members should familiarise themselves with the VFBV Board member role statement and key selection criteria available from the VFBV website or via the office at (03) 9886 1141.

Applications close on Monday 2 September 2024.

 

SOP feedback

CFA has recently released another 17 revised SOP’s for volunteer feedback and consultation. At time of press, we are currently undertaking a log of changes and will prepare SOP feedback surveys once we have completed our analysis of changes. These will be uploaded to the VFBV website shortly.

Given the importance of SOPs in CFA’s operational doctrine, VFBV encourages all senior volunteers to make themselves familiar with the proposed changes and provide feedback ASAP.

The following revised SOP’s are shortly due to close for feedback; SOP 3.01 Management of Junior Members; 5.05 Use of CFA Equipment; 7.01 Local Procedure Development; 7.05 Water Supplies for Firefighting; 7.07 Station Siren Use; 8.01 Incident Controller and CFA Agency Commander; 8.04 Transfer of Control; 9.13 Keeping Logs and Documents; 9.16 Media Management; and 9.18 Use of Personal Mobile Devices During Incidents.

Please visit the VFBV website to access drafts and change logs to help guide your feedback.

 

Fire Wise – July 2024 online only edition

The July 2024 edition of Fire Wise has been published online only, this edition and past editions are available from the Fire Wise website.

You can support Fire Wise and the role it plays as an independent voice in keeping volunteers informed by becoming a subscriber. To become a subscriber visit the Fire Wise website or contact the Managing Editor of Fire Wise, Gordon Rippon-King either by phone 0402 051 412 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    

 

Recent articles on the VFBV website
Consultation Dashboard

King’s Birthday Honours 2024

Feedback Requested – Standard Operating Procedures (Various)

VFBV Board Vacancies

Presumptive Legislation Update

 

Enjoy the VFBV monthly newsletter?
If you enjoy reading the VFBV newsletter each month, why not share it with your fellow volunteers?

Either share this page with others who may enjoy the articles or encourage other volunteers to sign up to receive their own copy via email each month here.

 

Want to read the VFBV 2-minute briefings from the CFA/VFBV Joint Committees?
The latest edition along with previous editions can be downloaded from the VFBV website here.

Tuesday, 11 June 2024 10:56

King's Birthday Honours 2024

Written by

Two CFA members have been honoured in this year’s King’s Birthday Honours List with the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) alongside more than 730 other Australians.

Stephen Hicks AFSM – Stephen has been a CFA member for more than 49 years and is a current member of the Pakenham Upper Fire Brigade.  During his service, Stephen has held many roles including Captain, Lieutenant Deputy Group Officer.  Stephen has been recognised for his outstanding service to CFA as a leader, trainer and mentor and for his efforts and achievements in fire preparedness, fire prevention and fire response. You can read more about Stephen here.

Gavin Thompson AFSM – Gavin began his service with CFA more than 30 years ago as a junior member at Bayswater before transferring to the Boronia brigade where he became a firefighter and rising through the ranks to 1st Lieutenant before joining CFA as a recruit firefighter. Now serving as Deputy Chief Officer – North West Region, Gavin has been recognised for his commitment above and beyond what is normally expected of fire service personnel as well as his effort in developing those around him to enhance the capacity of CFA. You can read more about Gavin here.

VFBV extends its sincere congratulations to both Stephen and Gavin for this worthy recognition of their service to CFA and wider Victorian community.

VFBV also congratulates five additional Victorian’s who were honoured with the Australian Fire Service Medal from other Victorian fire services: Nigel Brennan (FFMV), Chris Hardman (FFMV), Gregory Keighery (FRV) and Cory Woodyatt (FRV).  As well as former Northern Territory firefighter and current Swan Hill Fire Brigade member Geoffrey Kenna was also honoured with an AFSM for his leadership as volunteer in the Northern Territory over 27 years.  

A number of other past and present CFA members were also honoured on the King’s Birthday. Dr James Mullins from Grovedale was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), while Wilhelmina Armstrong, Eric Bumpstead, Phillip Collins, Robert Dean, Michael McLaughlin, Karen Noonan, Bernard Sinnott and Dianne Spark were each awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).


Nominations for AFSM's

Nominations for AFSM's are accepted at any time through CFA's Honours and Awards Committee. 

The AFSM honours the distinguished service of members of fire services who make an exceptionable contribution to their communities. The AFSM recognises those whose service is above and beyond the normal zealous and faithful discharge of normal or ordinary service, either in the short or long term.

CFA volunteers are often modest and reluctant to seek out recognition for the service they have provided to their community and may not have a realistic appreciation of the impact they have had on CFA, their community, within VFBV or your Brigade or Group. They’re not in it for the honour or glory, but it’s up to each of us to ensure we take the time to say ‘thank-you’ to those people who have stepped up and help inspire us all to do better.

If you know a quiet achiever who has contributed to CFA, who goes above and beyond what could be reasonably expected of someone in a similar position, please consider nominating them for an AFSM.  

The Australian Honours system has been designed to break down artificial barriers and open the Australian Honours to all parts of our society. Any member of the community can nominate any other Australian citizen for an award.

It is also critically important we encourage nominations for groups who are typically under-represented in Australian Honours like the AFSM. In particular we are encouraging a greater gender mix.

Women in particular are under-represented in AFSM’s awarded when we consider the thousands of women within the fire services across the country. And while things are improving, much more can be done.

There are so many exceptional CFA women and men deserving to be recognised, so please consider nominating someone you feel is deserving.

A common misconception is that only those members who have decades worth of service are recognised by the Honours system. The AFSM is not a long-service award, its sole criterion is distinguished service. And while prolonged service forms part of the key criteria, ‘prolonged’ is considered by the honour and awards committee’s to be taken in context as to what is considered ‘longer than usual’ and in context of what is ‘above and beyond’ the normal or ordinary service expected. Exceptional service that is sustained over a period of time can be considered as satisfying the criteria. For example, has the members contribution been in excess of expectations for a ‘normal’ member and over what duration? The Committee will consider the nature of the service or achievement within the context of a member’s service history when weighing up the various criteria.

This is especially important for women within CFA who may have their service overlooked simply because they haven’t been a Captain or Group Officer for 30+ years. While these are important leadership roles – our service is a team environment, and everyone’s contribution is valued.

Nothing should take away from the incredible achievement decade long service is, but the Honours system is designed to recognise those that make a significant contribution, and to represent the things that our communities believe to be deserving of recognition, including from those who are perhaps trailblazers for others to follow. Think of those people who have pushed the boundaries or have been first to reach and hold leadership positions that has been inspirational to those around them. For example, think of members who have overcome additional barriers, like English not being their first language and who have toiled away to learn the language and become masterful communicators designing new innovative community safety engagements to CALD communities and serving as a role model for other community members. Who are the people you look up to? Who are the people who have really made a difference in your Brigade or Group? 

Distinguished service includes service that is above and beyond and can be short-term or prolonged. It is service that can be exemplified by; responsibility for an outstanding event that has proven to be of significant benefit to the fire service or community; development of a new system, procedure or technique that is unique and made a significant contribution to the fire service; or outstanding leadership in the encouragement and development of others, particularly youth within the fire services.

While it can seem daunting to nominate a potential recipient, some guiding principles that could assist in completing a nomination for an AFSM are:

- In what role(s) has the nominee excelled?
- How has the nominee demonstrated service worthy of recognition?
- How has the nominee’s contribution affected a particular field, locality, brigade, group or community at large?
- Over what period has the nominee made a major commitment?
- Has the nominee’s contribution been recognised elsewhere?
- What makes this person stand out from others?
- What specific examples can be provided to show how the nominee’s contribution(s) have been outstanding?

Nominations for awards are strictly confidential. The person being nominated should not be approached for information or advised of the confidential nomination at any stage of the process.

 

Additional Resources to Assist

Honours and Awards Toolkit

Guide to Preparing Nominations for the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM)

AFSM Nomination Form

Want to discuss a potential nomination or need some more information? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


About the Australian Fire Service Medal 

Introduced in 1988, the Australian Fire Service Medal recognised distinguished service by members of Australian fire services and is awarded to both volunteer and paid members. The award recognised the distinguished service by members of a State or Territory Fire Service, a Fire Service of an agency of the Commonwealth, and the Fire Services of the External Territories of Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling Island) and Norfolk Island.

The medal is awarded twice a year as part of the Australia Day award and King's Birthday award announcements.

 

Criteria for the Australian Fire Service Medal 

To be considered for this award it would be expected that the nominee has given service beyond the norm exemplified by:

  1. Prolonged service distinguished by exceptional performance in a particular area that has proved significant benefit to the fire service; and one or more of the following.
  2. Responsibility for and management of an outstanding/exceptional event that has proven to be of significant benefit to the fire service, a community or community safety generally. 
  3. Development of a new system, or procedure, or technique that is unique and has made a significant contribution to the fire service, a community or community safety generally. 
  4. Outstanding leadership in the encouragement and development of others, particularly youth, within the fire service and the fostering and furthering of the aims of the fire service to the long-term benefit of the fire service and the community. 
  5. Demonstrated creativity in the development and implementation of innovative changes that have made a significant contribution to the fire service, fire/emergency operations, or the interests of community safety.
Wednesday, 05 June 2024 16:16

June 2024 Newsletter

Written by

Budget questions remain 
By Adam Barnett, VFBV Chief Executive Officer 

The most frequent questions I am receiving is about the state of the CFA budget. You would be forgiven for thinking that after the handing down of the Victorian State Budget for the 2024/25 financial year last month, that we would all have clarity around the CFA budget for the upcoming year. Sadly, it is impossible to determine what the CFA budget is through the budget papers.

In case you thought that was a typo, let me be clear. Believe it or not, trying to determine the level of fire service funding through the budget papers is an exercise in futility. One cannot help but reach the conclusion that this is by design. American revolutionist Patrick Henry puts it best: “The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.”

The reality is – the budget papers do not detail the funding allocations to the fire service, but rather obfuscate and hide these budgets by lumping them all together under ‘Emergency Management Capability’ within the Department of Justice and Community Safety. In addition to CFA and FRV, also lumped into this category are expenses for EMV, SES and Triple Zero Vic.

And because EMV’s budget is secret – there is no transparency about where that funding goes to.

But we can infer some outcomes from the budget papers, and I’ll try to walk you through what we know so far. First, let’s start with the good news.

The Government has continued its support for the popular Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program (VESEP), recommitting $15 million for this year’s program. The budget also allocates $18.58 million spread over the next three years to replace 15 CFA pumpers. We certainly welcome and commend these additional allocations.

Unfortunately though, that concludes the good news.

Let’s start with the capital budget. There was no new funding announced for any CFA tanker replacements. So when you hear announcements about MPs posing in front of new tankers – they were the tankers promised back in 2020.

Given VFBV’s estimates that CFA needs to invest at least $30 million a year just to stop the average fleet age going backwards, this year’s commitments are woefully short. This is yet another year where presumably the problem is just tucked under the rug for somebody else to sort out. What won’t go away is the 700 creaking old single cab tankers that still force firefighters to ride on the back of the truck separated from the driver and crew leader.

Some of these are now 35 years old, almost double their useful lifespan. The reality is as these tankers get older and older and are extended so far past their useful life, when they do become inoperable there will be no trucks in the pipeline to replace them. Given it will cost more than $350 million just to replace these aging vehicles alone, the seriousness of the chronic under funding to the fleet becomes clear.

And due to historic under investment, there is limited capacity in the local manufacturing industry to handle large urgent orders for new trucks, even if the agencies decided to order them all tomorrow. So, our warning to government continues to be it is approaching a cliff with potentially catastrophic outcomes if this problem continues to be ignored.

Then we get to CFA base budget. Again, the budget papers offer very little detail, but we can start to make some educated guesses. The budget has allocated the exact same amount to “Emergency Management Capability” for the 2024/25 period as it did for the 2023/24 budget. In other words, not a single extra dollar has been provided in the upcoming budget than was budgeted for in the previous year.

No new money means the budgets have not even been indexed, meaning CPI increases of everyday expenses will have to be absorbed by existing budgets. Using the current CPI means this is an effective cut of 3.6%

Further, it also means any wage increases negotiated into staff industrial agreements have not been budgeted for, meaning all annual increases to wages already approved in current agreements will need to be absorbed. In other words – agencies will need to make cuts elsewhere to afford increasing employee costs.

Then we have the government’s emergency service razor gang. This gang was established by the government last year and is made up of each of the departmental secretaries from the Department of Justice and Community Safety, Department of Treasury and Department of Premier and Cabinet. Calling themselves the “Emergency Services Organisation Finance Board” their job is rumoured to be to identify cuts to achieve another 10% in savings. Given the budget cuts already made to CFA over the last three years, and the historic chronic under funding, this represents one of the largest threats to emergency services in decades.

One can only hope this group looks very closely at the $24.7 million dollars the government has found over the next three years to flush money down the toilet by replacing the current State Control Centre Workforce with a new fulltime EMV public service workforce.

If that weren’t outrageous enough, the cherry on the cake comes from the government announcement that it is hiking the annual fire services properly levy tax to pay for FRV overspends. The increased levy is expected to collect an additional $186 million in taxes from property owners. Given CFA has not received a single extra dollar in their budget, and the levy can only be used for CFA and FRV, it does not take Einstein to figure out that residents in CFA areas are now cross subsidising FRV’s out of control costs for the 85 fire stations they operate, vs the 1,211 stations that CFA operates on just a third of the funding.

Now we get to what I call the long con. The government’s narrative for increasing the FSL is that it has been under collecting. Again it hopes Victorians have very short memories. Remember in 2017 during the height of the controversy over the government’s fire services reforms, and the exodus of CFA and MFB senior executives who, along with VFBV, warned anyone that would listen that the proposed reforms and generous deals would send the cost of delivering paid fire services through the roof?

To divert attention from these predictions, the government back then announced a temporary ‘freeze’ in the FSL, an obvious ploy to trick the general public into thinking the proposed reforms would have no impact on future fire service levies.

Throw in another freeze conveniently attributed to COVID, and then in 2020 it announced it was scrapping differential rates for CFA and FRV (MFB) areas and moving to a new “streamlined” system. In the same year, CFA’s budget was slashed. Under the “old” FSL system – these savings would have been passed onto residents living in CFA areas. But under the new system – these savings were evenly distributed to include residents in FRV areas that were now using the most expensive fire service in Australia.

The objective was obviously to hope the public would not connect this year’s hefty levy increase to the very reforms that hiked up costs in the first place. The MFB budget allocation in 2020 was $461 million, with FRV’s first year of operation in 2021 jumping to $859 million.

Brigades have already started to notify us of public backlash over the increased FSL, and rightly so – therefore it is critically important that members ensure they educate concerned members of the public that none of that increase is going to CFA.

Put the last three years of fire service budgets side by side, and CFA’s annual grant from government has decreased every year for the last three years. Below you will find a chart we have compiled comparing the last ten years of government funding to CFA. (a larger version of the graph can be downloaded at the bottom of this page)

(For a full size picture please click here.)

For members interacting with MPs at public events and functions, don’t allow them to get away with the statement they have invested more in Victoria’s Fire Services than any government previously. This is just another way of saying – they have invested more in FRV than any government prior, while funding for CFA has been slashed.

Now that Victorians are paying for these excesses through increased taxes and levies, it remains to be seen if government will respond to rising anger and concern and reverse its support for arrangements that are clearly not working and are no longer affordable, if they ever were. The secondment agreement should be the first thing thrown overboard.

VFBV is demanding that CFA receives its fair share of the Fire Service Levy, and we will continue to object to residents living in CFA areas effectively cross subsiding FRV’s out of control costs.

While this year’s CFA budget is yet to be announced, members are requested to seek an assurance from their local government MP that they commit to no more cuts to the CFA budget and ensuring CFA’s aging fleet age be addressed. Given they have hiked up the FSL to collect an additional $186 million dollars this year alone, this should not be a hard ask and members should ask how much of this extra revenue will flow to CFA.

You can find your members by visiting the Victorian Electoral Commission website.  

NEW CFA CHAIR

I was extremely disappointed to learn of the recent resignation of CFA Chair Mr Greg Wilson, that was announced by government on 23 May.

Greg was appointed to the CFA Board in 2020 following reform and at a time that can only be described as one of the most tumultuous periods in CFA’s history. Greg not only won my personal respect but was broadly admired and respected throughout the VFBV network for his quiet but effective leadership.

Among other things, Greg oversaw the strengthening of CFA’s relationship with VFBV and its commitment to supporting volunteers and was instrumental in re-committing the board to honouring its obligations under the Volunteer Charter which had taken a serious hammering under previous leadership.

I will miss his wise counsel and his steady and reliable stewardship of Victoria’s largest emergency service. Greg has also stepped down from Chair of the SES as he enjoys some well-earned rest post-retirement.

We wish him all the best and thank him most sincerely for his contribution to CFA.

The government has announced CFA Deputy Chair Ms Jo Plummer has been appointed as CFA’s new Chair effective immediately and we welcome Jo to the role.

VALE

We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Association Life Member Ex Captain Michael “Mick” Sanderson AFSM on the 4th May.

Mick was a member of the Seymour Fire Brigade for almost 70 years, including significant service to the Association by way of serving as an Executive member to the Victorian Urban Fire Brigades Association (VUFBA) for 22 years, and was a District/Regional Council President of our D12 Council for more than 20 years. Mick was a recipient of the VFBV Gold Star, and was awarded his AFSM in 2008.

Mick was a well-respected member across the state, and was a regular fixture over many decades at State Urban Championships as a judge and official. His passion for encouraging juniors and supporting the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal was well known across the District.

On behalf of VFBV and all fellow CFA volunteers, we offer our deepest condolences to wife Yvonne, daughters Rhonda, Chris and Dianne, extended family, friends and loved ones including all members of the Seymour Fire Brigade.


 

VESEP

Applications close Friday 14th June 2024

Applications are now open for the 2024 Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program (VESEP), with the closing date of 14 June fast approaching.

VFBV has updated its VESEP Help Pack to assist brigades and groups with their VESEP applications. The Help Pack is available for download from the VFBV website.

VESEP provides grants of $2 for every $1 of Brigade or Group funding to assist brigades and groups in acquiring a wide range of additional equipment in recognition of the significant contribution emergency service volunteers provide in supporting Victorian communities.

Now in its 24th year, VESEP first started out as the Community Safety Emergency Support Program in 2000 and was designed in close consultation with VFBV, with the intent being a grants program designed by volunteers with minimal administration required from volunteers.

VFBV wishes all CFA Brigades and Groups well with your applications and thanks you for your untiring service to Victoria!

 

 

SOP feedback

A reminder that we are seeking feedback on various Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that are out for consultation. Thirteen SOPs have been modified and 10 are now available for review.

These are SOP 3.01 Management of Junior Members; 5.05 Use of CFA Equipment; 7.01 Local Procedure Development; 7.05 Water Supplies for Firefighting; 7.07 Station Siren Use; 8.01 Incident Controller and CFA Agency Commander; 8.04 Transfer of Control; 9.13 Keeping Logs and Documents; 9.16 Media Management; and 9.18 Use of Personal Mobile Devices During Incidents.

Given the importance of SOPs in CFA’s operational doctrine, VFBV encourages all senior volunteers to make themselves familiar with the proposed changes and provide feedback ASAP.

Please visit the VFBV website to access the draft SOPs. A feedback survey is also available from the VFBV website for those who prefer to provide feedback that way.

 

VFBV Board positions

Vacancies on the VFBV Board will arise wen the terms of four VFBV Board members expire on 1 October 2024. Of the four members whose terms are expiring, two are eligible for re-appointment.

VFBV invites applications from any CFA volunteer who is motivated by the prospect of making a difference and believes they have the skills to contribute to the VFBV Board.

The role of a board member involves contributing to VFBV direction, policy determination and monitoring the performance and governance of the Association. This includes actively contributing to policy discussion, consulting with CFA volunteers and contributing to the identification and management of strategic issues. 

VFBV is seeking applications from gender and culturally diverse candidates in addition to a diverse range of skills and experience including applications from diverse brigade types and classifications. 

Members should familiarise themselves with the VFBV Board member role statement and key selection criteria available from the VFBV website or via the office at (03) 9886 1141. 

Applications close on Monday 2 September 2024.

 

‘Give us a hand’ campaign
This year’s CFA recruitment campaign continues, with a toolkit having been developed to assist brigades tailor and customise the various resources available.

Members can download and link to videos, tailor social media tiles, or customise a recruitment flyer or poster you can use in your local community.

Stock photo’s and audio are also included to assist the campaigns keep a consistent look, but allow brigades to tailor to their specific circumstance. Our delegates to the Joint Member Services Committee have been please to contribute to the suggestions, and encourage brigades to use the resources available to assist with local recruitment drives.

 

Volunteer Unity
Again in 2023/24, CFA Brigades and Groups showed it is more important than ever that volunteers have a strong, united, independent and credible voice with almost 95% of Brigades demonstrating strong support for VFBV’s important work representing and advocating for all CFA volunteers. Thank you to all brigades and groups who affiliated last year.

Brigade and Group secretaries have received the 2024/25 renewal notices for your Brigade/Groups’ VFBV Affiliation and Welfare Fund subscriptions with a due date of 30th June, 2024.

The Board is determined that brigades/groups should benefit from the strong governance of the association and have reduced the affiliation rate from $84 to $75.

Those who pay VFBV affiliations before 30 June will be automatically entered into a draw to win one of four extremely worthwhile prizes valued at approximately $4,000. Prizes have, for the fourth year running, been donated by GAAM Emergency Products and Powdersafe and we sincerely thank them for their continued support.

We strongly encourage Brigades to also subscribe to the VFBV Welfare Fund. The Welfare Fund is a capital fund and an exclusive benefit to affiliated members with VFBV funding all the administration and operating costs ensuring 100% of funds received go directly to CFA volunteers experiencing personal hardship. The VFBV Welfare Fund provides small grants up to $5,000 to assist volunteer members and long service ex members. The Welfare Fund has distributed more than $2.5 million dollars to volunteers in need since its inception.

 

Quarterly Supplement

Included with the June 2024 edition of Fire Wise is the latest edition of the VFBV Quarterly Supplement.

The Quarterly Supplement contains 16 pages of relevant news, updates, information on current issues being pursued by VFBV on behalf of members. It also includes additional resources or updates that are available via our website.

An electronic copy of the Quarterly Supplement can be downloaded here.

Brigade Captains and Secretaries, Group Officers and Group Secretaries as well as VFBV delegates are requested to please take the time to read this and future editions, and table at your upcoming meetings for the benefit and knowledge of your members.

 

Leading for Better Mental Health

The Emergency Services Foundation (ESF) has announced it has received funding for three ‘Leading for better Mental Health’ programs for 2024.

The Leading for Better Mental Health (LfBMH) program was developed from a comprehensive literature review, extensive consultation and targeted evidence gathering activities to understand the gaps between leadership for mental health leading practice and current agency activities.

A unique element of the Leading for Better Mental Health program is that the facilitators meet with participants in advance to understand their individual leadership challenges and expectations of the program. This provides a deeper understanding of the working environment and cultural issues to tailor the program to meet the specific needs of the group. This approach serves another purpose. It demonstrates how reflection and conversation can be applied by a team leader. It helps to build a trusted relationship that carries into the program and its coaching element.

Each program has a maximum cohort of 25 participants, and involved four days face to face over a 12 week period and is available to all current and emerging emergency service leaders, including Group Officers, Captains and Lieutenants.

To find out more, or apply, please visit the ESF website.

 

Recent articles on the VFBV website
National Volunteer Week 2024

Consultation Dashboard

2024 VESEP Applications Now Open and VFBV Help Pack

Feedback Requested – Standard Operating Procedures (Various)

VFBV Board Vacancies

Presumptive Legislation Update

 

Enjoy the VFBV monthly newsletter?
If you enjoy reading the VFBV newsletter each month, why not share it with your fellow volunteers?

Either share this page with others who may enjoy the articles or encourage other volunteers to sign up to receive their own copy via email each month here.

 

Want to read the VFBV 2-minute briefings from the CFA/VFBV Joint Committees?
The latest edition along with previous editions can be downloaded from the VFBV website here.

Monday, 20 May 2024 09:03

National Volunteer Week 2024

Written by

This week (20 – 26 May) is National Volunteer Week, a week that provides an opportunity to highlight the important role of volunteers in our communities and invites people not currently volunteering to give it a go.

The theme for National Volunteer Week this year is, Something for Everyone. Which fits emergency service volunteering quite nicely considering the myriad of roles available within CFA and other emergency services.

The theme also recognises the diverse passions and talents that everyone brings to an organisation when they volunteer as well as emphasising that there is a place for everyone in the world of volunteering.

VFBV passes on our deep gratitude, respect and appreciation to all CFA volunteers for the work you do in your communities, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Victorians are safer because of your work and we could not be more proud of you, your brigades and all those that support you in your work protecting lives and property.

It’s not just CFA volunteers who contribute to the safety of Victoria however, there are also volunteers from the broader emergency services sector such as VicSES, St John Ambulance, Ambulance Victoria, Life Saving Victoria, Coast Guard, Salvation Army, Red Cross and the Victorian Council of Churches Emergencies Ministry – just to name a few. Each of these organisations work together to contribute time, skills and resources to ensure the safety of Victorians.

The value of these 100,000 emergency service volunteers to the Victorian economy was conservatively estimated by The 3V’s report by Lateral Economics to be between $1.9 and $2.5 billion in value each year.

From VFBV, thank you and well done for your incredible dedication and service to the people of Victoria, not just this week, but every hour, day, week and month of the year.


About VFBV: VFBV is established under the Country Fire Authority Act and is the peak body for CFA Volunteers in Victoria. VFBV works tirelessly to represent, advocate and support CFA volunteers to the CFA Board and management, governments, ministers, members of parliament, councils, instrumentalities, business and the public. Our vision is for Strong Volunteerism, Embraced to Build Community Resilience for a Safer Victoria.

 

Want to read more about CFA volunteers? 

VFBV regularly publish stories about CFA volunteers, please explore our website to discover some of these amazing stories. 

Interested in becoming a CFA volunteer?

Visit https://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/volunteers-careers/volunteer-with-cfa to find out more information.

Tuesday, 07 May 2024 11:55

May 2024 Newsletter

Written by

Everyone can help someone 
By Adam Barnett, VFBV Chief Executive Officer  

Later this month we will celebrate National Volunteer Week, which this year runs between the 20th–26th May 2024.

This year’s theme is ‘Something for Everyone’ which fits emergency service volunteering quite nicely considering the myriad of roles available within CFA. The key message for this year’s theme is about emphasising that there’s a place for everyone in the world of volunteering.

And while my go to Ronald Reagan quote is usually his tongue in cheek wise crack: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help”, I will pivot to the more subject appropriate quote of “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”

As you would expect, I spend a lot of my time talking about all things ‘volunteer’ to many people who may not volunteer themselves. This is often the case when dealing with government, the public service and even business groups. Sadly, it has also become more common when dealing with people within the emergency management sector itself, and even when meeting some new CFA staff.

While I don’t think being an emergency service volunteer should be a mandatory prerequisite, it is important for those that have influential roles or responsibilities within the sector to have a very good understanding of the volunteer ethos, its culture, and how volunteers should be encouraged, respected, supported and appreciated.

When people roll their eyes over what they deem to be a pretty inconsequential complaint by volunteers, I ask how many of their staff would show up for work if the agency sent out an email advising all staff they wouldn’t be paid for the next two weeks due to budget cuts.

Think of all the things an organisation would need to do to encourage its staff to still want to come to work for free, and then think about what’s required to run a fully volunteer organisation not for two weeks, but for 365 days of the year.

Of late, some think its is totally acceptable to mirror arrangements for employees and expect volunteers to be treated exactly the same. Follow this through its logical conclusion, and if roles were reversed and employees had to give up their salaries but still continue to come to work – imagine the chaos and low morale.

Why then is it so difficult to understand treating volunteers like employees will similarly result in chaos and low morale.

And while just being a volunteer does not automatically qualify you as understanding these things or being proficient in the principles of volunteer management, it certainly goes some way to provide valuable context and personal experiences that may enlighten further development down the track.

For those that do have a background in volunteering, more often than not it is often involvement in non-formal volunteering, which is kind of the- ‘all care and no responsibility’ flavour of volunteering. That’s not to say that this type of volunteering is bad, and I certainly mean no disrespect - it just simply does not create a reference point for people who have not had experience in formal volunteering for an emergency service that also includes a significant amount of obligation, the real risk of hurting yourself, as well as the removal of the flexibility to volunteer where and when they would like.

Anyone with a pager knows that emergency incidents rarely occur when convenient, nor can they be planned or blacked out in one’s diary when planning the week.

It’s not until you start truly appreciating the sacrifices that CFA and other emergency service volunteers make that you can start to really appreciate and respect it. Then there is the type of incidents emergency service volunteers frequently attend that can weigh on your soul. I often describe CFA volunteers as being with Victorians on what is often the worse day of their lives. Therefore, the mental toll is as real as the physical, and often requires significant cognitive energy to ensure these aftereffects are managed and treated.

All this is to say, that when people tell me they really respect volunteers, I often pause to consider the context with which the statement is made. The words are easy, but genuine respect can only be given if the role and duty that emergency service volunteers give is truly understood. Only then can one really value and respect something.

I reflect on the occasions when someone has been accused of disrespecting CFA volunteers, and this is often followed by an exclamation that no this isn’t so - they love volunteers and really admire what they do.

It then takes patience and deliberate effort to walk them through the logic of an ignorant though well-meaning sentiment, versus an informed knowledge of and appreciation of how volunteers differ from a paid workforce. Again, these sentiments are often not made maliciously, but the effect is none the less often the same.

In this vein, I wish to use this year’s Volunteer Week to continue to contribute towards a better understanding of the value that emergency service volunteers bring to Victoria.

We know from the work we did with Lateral Economics a few years back, that Victoria’s emergency service volunteers generate more than $2.5 billion dollars of value to Victoria each and every year. Of that, $1.4 billion is what we call emergency management value per year. This is defined as the contribution of volunteers to the direct outcomes achieved by emergency services before, during and after emergencies. This includes response, but also considers prevention/mitigation, preparedness, as well as recovery.

It should be pointed out this is not the replacement value and only represents a very conservative partial cost approach to quantify the value. That is value and saved money that gets diverted to schools, hospitals and other essential programs.

The more misunderstood component of the $2.5 billion is the $900 million that is generated every year that emergency service volunteers provide in community strengthening value. This refers to the broader and sometimes indirect ways in which emergency service volunteering helps to strengthen communities. In other words - visible, active, positive emergency volunteerism in a community can make a difference to society as a whole. Concepts fire service outcome measurements do not even pretend to contemplate.

Rather than paraphrase, I’ll reproduce the observations of Nicholas Gruen the CEO from Lateral Economics after studying Victoria’s emergency service volunteers. Nicholas is a widely published and respected Australian economist, visiting professor at King’s College London’s Policy Institute, and is the former chair of the Australian Centre for Social Innovation.

“Thinkers and philosophers have deliberated through the eons over the question of which is more important—the individual or society? The discipline of economics is built on ‘methodological individualism’ in which the wellbeing and functioning of groups is seen as no more than the sum of their individual constituents. Nevertheless economics’ ‘founding father’, Adam Smith, had a different view, building his economics around a view of humanity set out in his first book – The Theory of Moral Sentiments in which individuals became individuals as we know them through the process of being socialised into the values of their family and, beyond that, their community.”

“It is not necessary to decide the question definitively for our purposes. What we can say is that certain outcomes of the 3Vs [Volunteers, Volunteering & Volunteerism] are far more concrete than others. The value of saving a house from being engulfed in a bushfire is clear to all conceptually, and, at least in principle, it is easy to measure its economic value.”

“This is far less true of the value individuals get from volunteering and even less true of the value communities gain from individuals within them volunteering. In this regard those close to volunteering— volunteers themselves and many who help organise them—are anxious that the value creation that is easiest to measure not crowd out that which is no less real for being difficult to measure.”

So during this year’s Volunteer Week while I acknowledge the incredible work our members do each and every day in protecting their communities from fire and other emergencies, I would also like to especially thank you for the community building, social capital and cohesion you each contribute to, that makes up a large part of the public value generated by your efforts.

‘Public value’ is the philosophy of performance measurement used to evaluate the value produced normally but not exclusively by public bodies and that is ‘consumed’ collectively by the citizenry rather than individually by clients or customers.

When you drill down into the four main domains that are often used to measure public value, it is clear the value proposition that CFA generates for Victoria. Public value can be measured by the outcomes achieved; the extent to which the organisation and activities are trusted and perceived to be legitimate; the extent to which the services delivered are high quality and match the need; and finally the extent to which an organisation is achieving maximal benefits with minimal resources. When you compare the public value of some current government priorities using these measurements, the disparity is clear.

With that in mind, we will be closely monitoring the Victorian budget due early this month. CFA volunteers will have every right to judge the tangible level of respect that the Victorian Government really has for its emergency service volunteers by way of its investment and resourcing (or lack thereof) of these essential emergency services.

If CFA and volunteer emergency services are truly judged by their public value and not by other measures such as political convenience, or industrial relations alignment, then CFA volunteers and the millions of Victorians that rely on their services will have nothing to worry about.

And while I fear this may not be the case, please take this moment to celebrate the incredible work that you do and the lives that you change for the better - each and every day.

 


 

SOP Feedback

A reminder that we are seeking feedback on various Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that are out for consultation.

Thirteen SOPs have been modified and ten are now available for review. These are SOP 3.01 Management of Junior Members; 5.05 Use of CFA Equipment; 7.01 Local Procedure Development; 7.05 Water Supplies for Firefighting; 7.07 Station Siren Use; 8.01 Incident Controller and CFA Agency Commander; 8.04 Transfer of Control; 9.13 Keeping Logs and Documents; 9.16 Media Management; and 9.18 Use of Personal Mobile Devices During Incidents.

Given the importance of SOPs in CFA’s operational doctrine, VFBV encourages all senior volunteers to make themselves familiar with the proposed changes and provide feedback ASAP.

Please visit the VFBV website to access drafts and change logs to help guide your feedback. A feedback survey is also available from the VFBV website for those who prefer to provide feedback that way.

 

 

National Volunteer Week
The week of 20-26 May is National Volunteer Week, a week that provides an opportunity to highlight the important role of volunteers in our communities and invites people not currently volunteering to give it a go.

The theme for National Volunteer Week is Something for Everyone. This recognises the diverse passions and talents everyone brings to the act of volunteering. It’s an invitation to explore the myriad of opportunities available, emphasising that there’s a place for everyone in the world of volunteering.

VFBV passes on our deep gratitude, respect and appreciation to all CFA volunteers for the work you do in your communities, 24/7. Victorians are safer because of your work and VFBV could not be more proud of you, your brigades and all those that support you in your work protecting lives and property.

We acknowledge all of Victoria’s emergency management volunteer workforce including volunteer first responders from VicSES, St John Ambulance, Ambulance Victoria, Life Saving Victoria, Coast Guard, Salvation Army, Red Cross and the Victorian Council of Churches Emergencies Ministry for their wonderful contribution.

 

VESEP

Applications are now open for the 2024 Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program (VESEP), with the closing date fast approaching.

VFBV has updated its Help Pack to assist brigades and groups with their applications. The Help Pack is available for download from the VFBV website.

VESEP provides grants of $2 for every $1 of Brigade or Group funding to assist brigades and groups in acquiring a wide range of additional equipment in recognition of the significant contribution emergency service volunteers provide in supporting Victorian communities.

In its 24th year, VESEP first started out as the Community Safety Emergency Support Program in 2000 and was designed in close consultation with VFBV, with the intent of being a grants program designed by volunteers with minimal administration required from volunteers.

VFBV wishes all CFA Brigades and Groups well with your applications.

 

VFBV Board positions

Vacancies on the VFBV Board will arise when the terms of four VFBV Board members expire on the 1st October 2024. Of the four members whose terms are expiring, two are eligible for re-appointment.

VFBV invites applications from any CFA volunteer who is motivated by the prospect of making a difference and believes they have the skills to contribute to the VFBV Board.

The role of a board member involves contributing to VFBV direction, policy determination and monitoring the performance and governance of the Association. This includes actively contributing to policy discussion, consulting with CFA volunteers and contributing to the identification and management of strategic issues.

VFBV is seeking applications from gender and culturally diverse candidates in addition to a diverse range of skills and experience including applications from diverse brigade types and classifications.

Members should familiarise themselves with the VFBV Board member role statement and key selection criteria available from the VFBV website or via the office at (03) 9886 1141.

Applications close on Monday 2nd September 2024.

 

CFA Memorial Service

On Sunday May 5th, the Annual CFA Memorial Service was held at the Victorian Emergency Services Memorial in Treasury Gardens in the Melbourne CBD to honour firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

This year’s service was particularly poignant as it acknowledged and recognised the loss of two of CFA’s long-serving members who died in the line of duty in the past year; Greg Godkin of Donald brigade in August 2023 and Garry Mallen of Portland brigade in January 2024.

If you were unable to attend the service, you can view a livestream of the service on CFA’s YouTube channel.

 

Volunteer unity
Thank you for members’ strong show of support!

Again in 2023/24, CFA Brigades and Groups showed it is more important than ever that volunteers have a strong, united, independent and credible voice with almost 95% of Brigades demonstrating strong support for VFBV’s important work representing and advocating for all CFA volunteers. Thank you to all that affiliated last year.

In the coming weeks, Brigade and Group secretaries will receive the 2024/25 renewal notices for your Brigade/Groups’ VFBV Affiliation and Welfare Fund subscriptions with a due date of 30th June, 2024.

The Board is determined that brigades/groups should benefit from the strong governance of the association and have reduced the affiliation rate from $84 to $75.

Those who pay VFBV affiliations before 30th June will be automatically entered into a draw to win one of four extremely worthwhile prizes valued at approximately $4,000. Prizes have, for the fourth year running, been donated by GAAM Emergency Products and Powdersafe and we sincerely appreciate their continued support.

We strongly encourage Brigades to also subscribe to the VFBV Welfare Fund. The Welfare Fund is a capital fund and an exclusive benefit to affiliated members with VFBV funding all the administration and operating costs ensuring 100% of funds received go directly to CFA volunteers experiencing personal hardship. The VFBV Welfare Fund provides small grants up to $5,000 to assist volunteer members and long service ex members and has distributed more than $2.5 million dollars to volunteers in need since its inception.

 

Fire Wise – May 2024 online only edition

The May 2024 edition of Fire Wise has been published online only, this edition and past editions are available from the Fire Wise website.

You can support Fire Wise and the role it plays as an independent voice in keeping volunteers informed by becoming a subscriber. To become a subscriber visit the Fire Wise website or contact the Managing Editor of Fire Wise, Gordon Rippon-King either by phone 0402 051 412 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    

 

ESF Residential Wellbeing Program Pilot

In April 2024 the Emergency Services Foundation (ESF) started a pilot Residential Wellbeing Program.

The pilot will involve six groups of ten people in residence for four days to work with two mental health counsellors familiar with the emergency services environment. The six pilot programs will take place between April and October this year and are open to members from ESF member agencies who met certain criteria.

For more information about the Residential Wellbeing Program and to register please visit the ESF website.

 

Recent articles on the VFBV website
Open for Consultation Dashboard

VFBV Board Vacancies – Invitation to Apply

Feedback Requested – Standard Operating Procedures (Various)

2024 VESEP Applications Now Open and VFBV Help Pack

CFA Annual Memorial Service 2024

Presumptive Legislation Update

 

Enjoy the VFBV monthly newsletter?
If you enjoy reading the VFBV newsletter each month, why not share it with your fellow volunteers?

Either share this page with others who may enjoy the articles or encourage other volunteers to sign up to receive their own copy via email each month here.

 

Want to read the VFBV 2-minute briefings from the CFA/VFBV Joint Committees?
The latest edition along with previous editions can be downloaded from the VFBV website here.

Friday, 26 April 2024 16:34

CFA Annual Memorial Service 2024

Written by

The Annual Memorial Service will be held on Sunday 5 May at Treasury Gardens, Melbourne to honour firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

This year’s memorial service will mark the 36th event, which has been held since 1987, with the only cancellation being 2020 due to the pandemic.

Location: The service will be held at the Victorian Emergency Services Memorial in Treasury Gardens, 2-18 Spring Street, East Melbourne

Date: 2.00pm on Sunday 5 May

Dress: CFA uniform or smart casual

The 2024 Annual Memorial Service for Firefighters is a free event, to attend please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 0428 406 012

Family members and friends, CFA and Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) executives as well as government representatives will come together to lay wreaths, light candles, remember lives and honour the personal sacrifices and commitment firefighters make each and every day.

VFBV CEO Adam Barnett spoke about the importance of the annual memorial service for not only the families, friends and loved ones of the fallen, but for all members.

“The annual memorial service is a time for us to come together either in person or in spirit to remember and honour the 82 CFA firefighters (including 11 from pre-1944) who have selflessly given their lives to protect the lives of other Victorians.

"And while the service is always solemn and reflective, it is also an important opportunity to reflect on our history as we pay tribute to those lost and reflect on the importance of the work we all do in making our communities safer.”

 

 

 

Monday, 29 April 2024 14:18

2024 VESEP Applications Now Open and VFBV Help Pack

Written by

Applications should be submitted to your District ACFO by Friday 14th June, 2024.

Applications are now open for the 2024 Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program (VESEP), with the closing date fast approaching. VFBV has updated its VESEP Help Pack to assist brigades and groups with their VESEP applications.

VESEP provides grants of $2 for every $1 of Brigade or Group funding to assist brigades and groups in acquiring a wide range of additional equipment in recognition of the significant contribution emergency service volunteers provide in supporting Victorian communities.

Now in its 24th year, VESEP first started out as the Community Safety Emergency Support Program in 2000 and was designed in close consultation with VFBV and volunteers, with the intent being a grants program designed by volunteers with minimal administration required from volunteers.

Since 2000, the program has funded over 2,300 projects totalling more than $170 million dollars, as an investment in maintaining and building volunteer capability by supporting volunteers through grants in five categories:

- Volunteer amenities under $5,000
- Minor works under $150,000^
- Operational Equipment
- Specialist Appliances and Field Command Vehicles
- Tankers*

^all minor works applications must be registered with the VESEP Land & Buildings Project Manager via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 31st May, 2024. Applications not pre-registered for review will not be considered by the Steering Committee. 

*as with previous years, CFA have advised that additions to the fleet will be afforded a low priority with only exceptional circumstances being considered by the Chief Officer. An Addition to the Fire Fighting Fleet form will be required to be completed and approved by the District ACFO and Regional DCO.

VFBV Help Pack

VFBV's VESEP Application Help Pack is again available in 2024 to assist Brigades and Groups in completing their application, with the pack divided into easily downloadable sections at the bottom of this page.

VFBV VESEP Help Pack Contains general information about VESEP and some handy hints on how to complete your application
Attachment 1

Application forms for Special Access Grant

The Special Access Grant can reduce or in some cases eliminate all together the Brigade/Group contribution

Attachment 2

CFA VESEP Guidelines

The Special Access Grant can reduce or in some cases eliminate all together the Brigade/Group contribution

Attachment 3

CFA Application Forms

Provides Brigades and Groups with application forms for Part A: Vehicles and Operational Equipment, Part B: Volunteer Amenities and Minor Works and Addition to the Fire Fighting Appliance Fleet Operational Justification.

Appendix

CFA Information Sheets 

Collates all information sheets produced by CFA to assist with Brigade and Group applications and ideas.

 

Key Dates

Program Dates Process
19th April 2024 Program opened
31st May 2024

Registrations close for Minor Works Applications. Email registration to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

14th June 2024

Applications Close. All applications to be forwarded to District ACFO

14th June - 24th June 2024 DPC Meetings to review and endorse applications. 
12th August 2024 CFA Steering Committee meeting to review/endorse projects
October 2024 Anticipated Ministers announcement of successful projects

 

Additional Support 

If you need any assistance with you Application please contact your local VFBV State Councillor, VFBV Support Officer of the VFBV Office. You can also email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    

If you would like a printed copy of the VFBV 2024 VESEP Application Help Pack please call the VFBV office on 03 9886 1141 and we will post one out.

Information is also available from CFA Members Online https://www.members.cfa.vic.gov.au/programs/vesep  

VFBV wishes all CFA Brigades and Groups well with your applications and thank you for your untiring service to Victoria!

 

Thursday, 04 April 2024 16:04

April 2024 Newsletter

Written by

Chicken or egg 
By Adam Barnett, VFBV Chief Executive Officer 

Which came first – the chicken or the egg? Before you get too uptight, no – I’m not about to prattle on about this causality dilemma considered by many ancient philosophers exploring things like infinite regress and origin paradox’s. Religion has had a crack with origin stories, and scientists have their evolutionary biology explanations. From a science perspective, tempted as I may be, I won’t even publish a spoiler, but I will say that perhaps the answer isn’t as clear cut as you may think. For the inquisitive among you, I have short linked an Australian source – the Australian Academy of Science that provide their answer – (https://tinyurl.com/vfbv-chicken)

But I digress. My main point is around the difficulty posed by situations where it is challenging to determine between alleged causes and effects. One of the most common discussion points that I frequently hear among brigades is the age-old recruitment and retention riddle. Again, people often approach this as a binary decision between does CFA have a recruitment or a retention problem? One or the other.

If we look at these separately, lets start with recruitment. While “volunteering” is generally thought to be in decline in Australia, these often-simplistic measurements often hide what’s really going on in the detail. For example, recent longitudinal studies often don’t separate out the COVID period and lockdowns that made many volunteering opportunities impossible and wiped out most of the “formal” volunteering sector during these periods.

These prophecies also ignore the fact that our form of volunteering – emergency service volunteering – accounts for just a tiny little fraction of total volunteers – so the potential pool of volunteers is still massive providing we look after them and meet their volunteering “needs”.

The COVID period of disruption proved what many of us have said for a very long time. Protect emergency service volunteering – as once you lose something as valuable as our volunteering culture – it is very hard to get it back. And while arguably CFA volunteers were able to participate in some activities during the COVID years – many discovered just how pervasive their volunteering had become over other facets of their lives. It’s not unusual for this to be a bit of a light bulb moment for some who now desire a more balanced work/life balance.

But there is also some positive in this.

This reckoning has occurred across the entire population, not just among CFA and other emergency service volunteers - and it has changed the way people want to volunteer, and what they want to get out of their volunteer experience.

The most common motivation popping out of research is many people are looking for opportunities to make a difference. They want to help people; they want to make a difference; and they want to do things that have social impact. And with more limited time on their hands with dual income families and cost of living pressures etc. people want their volunteering time to be not only impactful but efficient.

On the one hand – CFA provides a wonderful opportunity for people who want to make a difference. We literally change lives each and every day. By our very being – we literally respond to peoples’ calls for help and are often with them on the worst days of their lives. There are few vocations that are not as impactful nor rewarding as CFA.

But how do we fair on the “efficient” part of that equation. Being a CFA volunteer is not exactly time efficient. Factor in the lengthy application process, onboarding, minimum training, mandatory skills maintenance and a lot of hurry up and wait, and we don’t tick all that many boxes.

The good news for us is most people understand that if they want to be involved in a role as hazardous and impactful as that of a CFA volunteer, there is a certain amount of “overhead” that comes with that. CFA remains a very attractive organisation of choice for the first-time volunteer. This is evidenced by the high number of expressions of interest that flow in each and every year. After large summer campaigns, literally thousands of EOI’s flow in from well intentioned people wanting to pitch in and give us a hand. These aren’t evenly distributed, and the more remote brigades frequently miss out.

I only half-jokingly opined to a CFA executive recently that given all the hoops we place in front of an aspiring CFA volunteer just to get into the organisation – we really should award them a medal on day one just to acknowledge their persistence and tenacity in actually getting through it all.

This is evidenced by the massive disparity between those that express an interest and those that actually join. While the numbers fluctuate, I estimate on average only about one-fifth to one-quarter of expressions of interest actually translate to a completed application. I have cautioned many a Minister about jumping up in Parliament to extoll the thousands of people signing up to join CFA during a campaign fire. Usually timed to dodge criticism around falling vol numbers, this mirage of applicants quickly disappears when tracking the actual number of applications completing their enrolment process.

And can anyone really blame them? While the cynic in me thinks that the application process is a very good test for aspiring applicants, as really – if they are not willing to jump through some hoops to get into the organisation at the start of their career – God help them when they realise how many more hoops will remain for the rest of their involvement just to stay. Maybe its better they learn the lesson up front and set their expectations accordingly?

But when you think about it – that’s a pretty lousy excuse for a system and model that seems to delight in testing the human limits for patience and tolerance. A recent review of a nine-page medical form gives me the impression that the only Victorian likely to be worthy of membership these days is off training for the Olympics. We’ve got to do better.

Which gets us to the retention side of the equation. I saw this dilemma on full display when I observed a recent news article in a regional newspaper appealing to members of the community to get involved. The stories pointed out the excessive red tape and bureaucracy, the journalist pointed out that due to inadequate government funding the fire truck was now 30 years old and CFA can’t afford a new fire shed for them, even though the current one has no toilet. Quite correctly they pointed out how difficult it was to attract new members, especially more diverse members when people have to use the paddock or public toilet block up the hill just to go to the bathroom. The article then invited people to apply.

It’s not the brigade’s fault they are in this position. Here we have a crucial emergency service starved of funding that leaves these civic minded community champions out in a tin shed with aging equipment, and dare I say – an aging workforce. Is this not the embodiment of the ultimate disrespect that government has for its volunteer emergency services? Who thinks this would be attractive to today’s youth?

This is the impossible position the government is putting brigades and CFA more generally into. How do we possibly attract new members when budgets are being slashed and burned? It’s not exactly a great advert when we can’t afford new trucks, or new stations and we are forced to continually ration out protective equipment and clothing to try and make it go around. While government MPs sweat about 15 year old FRV trucks yet ignore 34 year old trucks rusting away in CFA sheds, and where a paid firefighter gets an automatic allocation of multiple sets of PPC, uniforms, gloves and individual portable radios for every seat in the truck, volunteers are forced to make do with much less each and every time. Despite being ten orders of magnitude larger than the paid service, CFA receives just one third of its funding and all the cuts that go along with that, rationing every glove, boot, chainsaw and hose.

For example, the new radios recently announced are fantastic – but we can’t even afford to pop a portable radio in the truck for every seat in the cabin like our sister service does. So again, CFA is forced to make do and ration them out under fancy sounding terms like “risk assessment” and “operational justification” that if we’re lucky will allocate three portables for every five seater truck, which given the incident controller often requires two – paints the picture of what volunteers have to put up with on the fireground.

And while CFA often gets blamed for these type of policy positions – what else can it do with such systemic under funding? And for those in any doubt, I will continue dropping these little budget facts in every newsletter for every week that cuts continue to be made to CFA, in the hope you will continue to raise it with your local member of parliament and keep raising it until CFA’s budget is restored.

So when people ask me if we have a recruitment problem or a retention one, I go back to my analogy of the chicken or the egg. While it may sound trivial – there is a complex story in each. I think the recruitment problems are easier to solve. This explains why recruitment is often the first thing under siege governments usually latch onto. They are quick and results are fast. But just adding more meat to the sausage machine is not the answer if the sausage machine is broken. We have to fix the sausage machine first.

At time of writing, thousands of CFA volunteers are preparing to fundraise for the Royal Children’s Hospital. Our members will selflessly rattle tins, give up a long weekend and stand on intersections to raise millions of dollars for some of Victoria’s most vulnerable children. They will then return to raising funds for their own community’s fire station, trucks and gear. They will do so while protecting their communities and responding to all manner of emergencies that will arise over the Easter long weekend, and beyond - just like every other day of the year. They will do so proudly, and humbly.

This is the epitome of a CFA volunteer. Our reason for being. Just wanting to help others. It shouldn’t have to be this hard. Victorians rely on us, and our fight for fairer funding isn’t for us – it’s for them.


 

State champions crowned
Over two weekends in March almost 1,000 competitors contested the 2024 State Urban and Rural Championships in Mooroopna.

Melton A had two successful weekends, winning the Grand Aggregates at both the Urban Junior and Senior Championships. While the Rural Senior Championship saw Eldorado win both the Division 1 and Division 3 Aggregate’s while Truganina A took out the Division 2 aggregate. For the Rural Junior Championship, Ascot & District won both the 11-13 years and Grand Aggregates while Napoleons-Enfield A took the honours in the 11-15 years aggregate.

The Torchlight Procession was this year held in Mooroopna with the new LED powered torches replacing the traditional kerosene torches with Melton continuing their success taking out first place with 98%. Full results from all four State Championships can be found on the VFBV website or on pages 10 to 12 of this months edition of Fire Wise and on the VFBV website.

Of course, the State Championships wouldn’t be possible without the 200 judges and officials who volunteer their time over the two weekends to ensure that the championships are run at a high standard for all competitors involved. VFBV also passes on our appreciation to the competitors, coaches, supporters and families of the competitors who keep the competitions going, as well as all CFA staff who contributed to the success of the championships.

A special thank you also to the Mooroopna State Championships committee for their hard work in preparing the competition venue for the Championships alongside the Greater Shepparton City Council who continue to support the Championships.

VFBV’s competition committees will be meeting in the coming months to review this year’s Championships. If any brigades, competitors or spectators have any feedback they would like considered by either committee please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

 

Affiliation
Thank you for members’ strong show of support!

Again in 2023/24, CFA Brigades and Groups showed it is more important than ever that volunteers have a strong, united, independent and credible voice with 95% of Brigades demonstrating strong support for VFBV’s important work representing and advocating for all CFA volunteers. Thank you to all brigades and groups who affiliated last year.

In the coming weeks, Brigade and Group secretaries will receive the 2024/25 renewal notices for your Brigade/Groups’ VFBV Affiliation and Welfare Fund subscriptions with a due date of 30th June, 2024.

The Board is determined that brigades/groups should benefit from the strong governance of the association and have found efficiencies to allow the reduction of the affiliation rate from $84 to $75. The price set when the rural and urban associations joined together in 2013/14.

To thank Brigades and Groups for their support, those who pay VFBV affiliations before 30th June will be automatically entered into a draw to win one of four extremely worthwhile prizes valued at approximately $4,000. Prizes have, for the fourth year running, been donated by GAAM Emergency Products and Powdersafe and we sincerely thank them for their continued support. A flyer detailing prizes on offer will be included with your renewal notices.

As well as affiliating, we strongly encourage Brigades to subscribe to the VFBV Welfare Fund. The Welfare Fund is a capital fund and an exclusive benefit to affiliated members with VFBV funding all the administration and operating costs ensuring 100% of funds received go directly to CFA volunteers experiencing personal hardship.

The VFBV Welfare Fund provides small grants up to $5,000 to assist volunteer members and long service ex-members. The Welfare Fund has distributed more than $2.5 million dollars since its inception.

 

SOP Feedback

A reminder that we are seeking feedback on various Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that are out for consultation. The Driving SOPs will close for feedback shortly. An additional 13 SOPs have been modified and are now available for review.

These are SOP 3.01 Management of Junior Members; 5.05 Use of CFA Equipment; 7.01 Local Procedure Development; 7.05 Water Supplies for Firefighting; 7.07 Station Siren Use; 8.01 Incident Controller and CFA Agency Commander; 8.04 Transfer of Control; 9.13 Keeping Logs and Documents; 9.16 Media Management; and 9.18 Use of Personal Mobile Devices During Incidents.

Given the importance of SOPs in CFA’s operational doctrine, VFBV encourages all senior volunteers to make themselves familiar with the proposed changes and provide feedback ASAP.

Please visit the VFBV website to access drafts and change logs to help guide your feedback.

 

VFBV Board Vacancies 

Vacancies on the VFBV Board will arise when the terms of four VFBV Board members expire on 1 October 2024. Of the four members whose terms are expiring, two are eligible for re-appointment.

VFBV invites applications from any CFA volunteer who is motivated by the prospect of making a difference and believes they have the skills to contribute to VFBV Board.

The role of a board member involves contributing to VFBV direction, policy determination and monitoring the performance and governance of the Association. This includes actively contributing to policy discussion, consulting with CFA volunteers and contributing to the identification and management of strategic issues.

VFBV is seeking applications from gender and culturally diverse candidates in addition to a diverse range of skills and experience including applications from diverse brigade types and classifications.

Members should familiarise themselves with the VFBV Board member role statement and key selection criteria available from the VFBV website or via the office at (03) 9886 1141.

Applications close on Monday 2 September 2024.

 

 

CFA Annual Firefighter Memorial Service

This year’s Annual Firefighter Memorial Service will be held on Sunday 5th May to honour firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

The service will be held at the Victorian Emergency Services Memorial in Treasury Gardens, East Melbourne and will begin at 2pm.

Family members and friends, CFA and VFBV executives as well as government representatives will come together to lay wreaths, light candles, remember lives and honour the personal sacrifices and commitment firefighters make each and every day.

Junior CFA members will also attend the memorial service and will be actively involved throughout the ceremony by assisting wreath layers and patrons.

The Annual Memorial service is a free event, to attend please RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 0428 406 012 by Monday 22nd April.

 

Mental Health Matters Workshops
The Emergency Services Foundation (ESF) is again offering mental health matters workshops to emergency service volunteers across Victoria.

This year ESF will travel to regional areas to deliver the 2.5 hour workshop at a time that suits the brigade and volunteers.  The Mental Health Matters workshop is a free, no pressure, conversational workshop with a focus on involving partners and family members in the workshop.

Topics covered in the workshop include: what is mental fitness; identifying the signs and symptoms; who is in your support crew and where to get help; stigma around mental health; and how to effectively ask R U OK?

For more information or to register your interest in holding a workshop, visit the ESF website.

 

VEC – Local Council Elections

The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) is seeking local people to help run the 2024 local council elections in specific regional areas.

Applications are open for join the VEC as a senior election official who take on specialised election management roles during election events.

For more information or to see a list of areas where the VEC is seeking senior election officials please visit the VFBV website.

Applications close on Sunday 7th April 2024.

 

Fire Wise – April 2024 online only edition

The April 2024 edition of Fire Wise has been published online only, this edition and past editions are available from the Fire Wise website.

You can support Fire Wise and the role it plays as an independent voice in keeping volunteers informed by becoming a subscriber. To become a subscriber visit the Fire Wise website or contact the Managing Editor of Fire Wise, Gordon Rippon-King either by phone 0402 051 412 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   

 

Recent articles on the VFBV website
Open for consultation dashboard

Victorian Electoral Commission

2024 Bushfire and Storm Recovery Resources

Feedback Requested – Standard Operating Procedures (Various)

Feedback Requested – Standard Operating Procedures (Driving)

VFBV Board Vacancies - Invitation to Apply

2024 State Urban Senior Championship Results

2024 State Rural Junior Championship Results

2024 State Rural Senior Championship Results

2024 State Urban Junior Championship Results

International Women’s Day 2024

Presumptive Legislation Update

 

Enjoy the VFBV monthly newsletter?
If you enjoy reading the VFBV newsletter each month, why not share it with your fellow volunteers?

Either share this page with others who may enjoy the articles or encourage other volunteers to sign up to receive their own copy via email each month here.

 

Want to read the VFBV 2-minute briefings from the CFA/VFBV Joint Committees?
The latest edition along with previous editions can be downloaded from the VFBV website here.

Thursday, 28 March 2024 14:44

Victorian Electoral Commission

Written by

The VEC is seeking local people to help run the 2024 local council elections. This is a message from the VEC.

The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) is seeking organised hands-on leaders in specific regional areas for key roles at the October 2024 local council elections.

Applications are now open to join our pool of senior election officials (SEOs), who take on specialised election management roles during election events. As an SEO you will play a major role in the delivery of elections across Victoria. Our pool of staff will be appointed as election managers and assistant election managers for each local council area at the October 2024 local council elections. Each local council area will have one election manager and up to 3 assistant election managers appointed. If appointed, you will work in election offices, overseeing many election activities which will vary depending on the type of election.

To help us with the challenge of recruiting for several vacancies in rural areas, we are reaching out to you as part of the VFBV network to help share this opportunity.

VFBV members have what it takes to be senior election officials: you are civic-minded, hands-on, calm under pressure and have valuable local knowledge!

Our SEOs come from all walks of life: Victorians who are retired or transitioning into retirement; professionals, freelancers or small business owners with the flexibility to take extended leave; parents returning to work and more.
Prior electoral work experience is not essential and full training is provided.

If you live in or near any of the following areas, they want to hear from you!

Western Victoria

Hindmarsh Shire Council, Horsham Rural City Council, Northern Grampians Shire Council, Pyrenees Shire Council, West Wimmera Shire Council and Yarriambiack Shire Council

North-western Victoria

Gannawarra Shire Council, Greater Bendigo City Council, Loddon Shire Council, and Swan Hill Rural City Council

North-eastern Victoria

Benalla Rural City Council, Indigo Shire Council, Mansfield Shire Council, Strathbogie Shire Council, Towong Shire Council, and Wodonga City Council

South-western Victorian
Colac Otway Shire Council, Corangamite Shire Council, and Southern Grampians Shire Council 

Gippsland
Latrobe City Council.

 

Read more about SEOs by clicking here, or apply now by clicking here or visiting: https://careers.vic.gov.au/job/senior-election-officials-792285?returnurl=https%3A//careers.vic.gov.au/jobs/premier-and-cabinet/victorian-electoral-commission .

Applications close on Sunday 7 April 2024.

Please note that, in accordance with Section 17A of the Electoral Act 2002, the VEC may ask applicants for disclosure of specific political activities that could compromise the perceived independence of the organisation.

Sunday, 24 March 2024 17:03

2024 State Urban Senior Championship Results

Written by

Final results for the 2024 State Urban Senior Championships held in Mooroopna on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 March 2024 are now available.

The full results are available for download at the bottom of this page.

Photo's of presentations are being progressively uploaded to VFBV's dedicated Championships Facebook Page. Team times for each event are available for download at the bottom of this page. 

Grand Aggregate Winner - Melton A

B Section Aggregate Winner - Cohuna 

Wet Aggregate Winner - Melton A 

Female Aggregate Winner - Tatura 

Final Aggregate Board 

SATURDAY, 23rd MARCH

Event 1 – Ladder Race, One Competitor 

1st

MARYVALE (1) (Matt Royal)

6.92

seconds

2nd

OSBORNE PARK A (2) (Jordan Winsall)

7.02

seconds

3rd

EAGLEHAWK (1) (Steven Matthews)

7.03

seconds

4th

PATTERSON RIVER (2) (Mark Mullins)

7.34

seconds

5th

OSBORNE PARK B (1) (Jaxon Winsall)

7.35

seconds

 

Event 2 – B Section Hose & Ladder, Five Competitors

1st

HOPPERS CROSSING

23.57

seconds

2nd

KYNETON

25.08

seconds

3rd

COHUNA

25.40

seconds

4th

WARRACKNABEAL

25.43

seconds

5th

ECHUCA A

26.13

seconds

 

Event 3 – A Section Y Coupling, Four Competitors 

1st

OSBORNE PARK A

7.94

seconds

2nd

DANDENONG

8.09

seconds

3rd

WENDOUREE

8.21

seconds

4th

OSBORNE PARK B

8.23

seconds

5th

MORWELL

8.48

seconds

 

Event 4 – A Section Hose and Ladder, Eight Competitors

1st

OSBORNE PARK A

22.76

seconds

2nd

MARYVALE

22.90

seconds

3rd

OSBORNE PARK B

24.61

seconds

4th

MORWELL

24.72

seconds

5th

WENDOUREE

25.31

seconds

 

Event 5 – B Section Y Coupling, Four Competitors 

1st

ECHUCA A

7.90

seconds

2nd

ECHUCA B

8.96

seconds

3rd

COHUNA

9.05

seconds

4th

CRESWICK

9.20

seconds

5th

KYNETON

9.24

seconds

 

Event 6 – Female Y Coupling, Two Competitors

1st

TATURA – NEW RECORD (Hayley Rennie, Charlotte Freemantle)

12.05

seconds

2nd

MELTON A (Gabby Keats, Lorelei Geysing)

12.27

seconds

3rd

MILDURA (Lucy Garraway, Katrina Garraway)

13.60

seconds

4th

ECHUCA B (Hannah Norman, Charlee Amos)

14.02

seconds

5th

SWAN HILL B (Jasmin Stayner, Sarah Scott)

14.14

seconds

 

Event 7 – A Section Y Coupling Ladder Eights

1st

OSBORNE PARK A

32.99

seconds

2nd

DANDENONG

37.07

seconds

3rd

OSBORNE PARK B

39.05

seconds

4th

PATTERSON RIVER

39.86

seconds

5th

SALE

40.24

seconds

 

Event 8 – B Section Hose, Hydrant and Pumper

1st

WARRNAMBOOL

15.03

seconds

2nd

ECHUCA A

15.45

seconds

3rd

HALLAM

15.85

seconds

4th

COHUNA

16.03

seconds

5th

HOPPERS CROSSING

16.76

seconds

 

Event 9 – B Section Wet Hose Striking One Disc Twice with Removable Back Cap

1st

WARRACKNABEAL – NEW RECORD

16.49

seconds

2nd

ECHUCA A

18.10

seconds

3rd

HOPPERS CROSSING

19.08

seconds

4th

KYNETON

19.77

seconds

5th

KNOX GROUP

20.12

seconds

 

Event 10 – A Section Hose, Hydrant and Pumper 

1st

MELTON A

12.62

seconds

2nd

NARRE WARREN

12.89

seconds

3rd

OSBORNE PARK A

13.66

seconds

4th

PATTERSON RIVER

14.00

seconds

5th

WERRIBEE

14.67

seconds

 

Event 11 – A Section Hose & Reel Sixes

1st

MELTON A

28.66

seconds

2nd

MARYVALE

30.17

seconds

3rd

WENDOUREE

30.22

seconds

4th

DANDENONG

32.35

seconds

5th

SALE

33.55

seconds

 

Event 12 - B Section Marshall, One Competitor 

1st

MAFFRA (1) (Brent McKenzie)

27.90

seconds

2nd

SWAN HILL A (2) (Adam Saunders)

27.99

seconds

3rd

HORSHAM (2) (Jonathon Hornsby)

28.27

seconds

4th

ECHUCA A (1) (Jordan Simpson)

28.29

seconds

5th

ECHUCA A (2) (Martyn Currey)

29.59

seconds

 

Chief Officer’s Challenge Event

1st

MELTON A (Bayllie Arandt, Poppy Arandt, Leah Steele, Jayson Cassar)

20.07

seconds

2nd

CHIEF’S CHARGERS (Jason Heffernan, Rohan Luke, Brett Boatman, Adrian Gutsche)

29.41

seconds

 

Event 13 – B Section Wet Hose Striking One Disc Twice 

1st

COHUNA

16.76

seconds

2nd

KNOX GROUP

16.84

seconds

3rd

WARRNAMBOOL

17.15

seconds

4th

KYNETON

17.58

seconds

5th

WARRACKNABEAL

17.87

seconds

 

Event 14 - A Section Marshall, One Competitor 

1st

MARYVALE (2) (Jordan Royal)

24.88

seconds

2nd

DANDENONG (1) (Millar Anderson)

25.39

seconds

3rd

MELTON A (1) (Bailey Rhodes)

25.57

seconds

4th

PATTERSON RIVER (2) (Mark Mullins)

26.04

seconds

5th

MARYVALE (1) (Matt Royal)

26.07

seconds

 

Event 15 – Female Marshall, One Competitor

1st

HOPPERS CROSSING (Amanda Lawrence)

31.38

seconds

2nd

KERANG (Kendall Ash)

32.15

seconds

3rd

NARRE WARREN (Samantha McKean)

32.54

seconds

4th

MAFFRA (Charlie Giles)

34.12

seconds

5th

HORSHAM/WARRACKNABEAL (Claire Longstaff)

34.54

seconds

 

Event 16 - B Section Pumper & Ladder

1st

COHUNA

16.42

seconds

2nd

HOPPERS CROSSING

17.08

seconds

3rd

ECHUCA A

17.62

seconds

4th

WARRNAMBOOL

18.23

seconds

5th

MAFFRA

19.82

seconds

 

Event 17 - A Section Hydrant & Tanker

1st

MELTON A – NEW RECORD

12.41

seconds

2nd

WENDOUREE

12.42

seconds

3rd

KANGAROO FLAT

13.37

seconds

4th

DANDENONG

14.43

seconds

5th

OSBORNE PARK B

14.64

seconds

 

SUNDAY, 24th MARCH

Event 18 – Hydrant Race, One Competitor

1st

OSBORNE PARK A (1) (Aiden Couzens)

11.91

seconds

2nd

SWAN HILL A (2) (Adam Saunders)

12.32

seconds

3rd

DANDENONG (1) (Millar Anderson)

12.78

seconds

4th

MARYVALE (1) (Matt Royal)

12.80

seconds

5th

PATTERSON RIVER (2) (

12.82

seconds

 

Event 19 – Female Hydrant Race, One Competitor  

1st

NARRE WARREN (Samantha McKean)

14.60

seconds

2nd

HORSHAM/WARRACKNABEAL (Isabella Orszulak)

15.23

seconds

3rd

SALE (Dana King)

15.42

seconds

4th

EUROA (Teagan Kubeil)

15.61

seconds

5th

HALLAM (Melanie Naujok)

16.21

seconds

 

Event 20 – A Section Pumper & Ladder 

1st

MELTON A

14.98

seconds

2nd

WENDOUREE

16.41

seconds

3rd

DANDENONG

16.73

seconds

4th

MARYVALE

16.88

seconds

5th

OSBORNE PARK A

17.48

seconds

 

Event 21 – B Section Hydrant & Tanker

1st

SWAN HILL A – NEW RECORD

12.88

seconds

2nd

COHUNA

13.05

seconds

3rd

MELTON B

16.75

seconds

4th

ECHUCA B

16.94

seconds

5th

ECHUCA A

19.06

seconds

 

Event 22 – Female Marshall, Two Competitors

1st

TATURA (Hayley Rennie, Charlotte Freemantle)

18.89

seconds

2nd

SWAN HILL A (Porsha Bruton, Sienna Kruger)

19.31

seconds

3rd

KNOX GROUP (Isabella Gluskie, Jessica Walker)

20.42

seconds

4th

ECHUCA B (Kirra Stickleton, Hannah Norman)

20.51

seconds

5th

MILDURA (Lucy Garraway, Katrina Garraway)

21.02

seconds

 

Event 23 – B Section Hose & Reel Sixes 

1st

HOPPERS CROSSING

33.03

seconds

2nd

KYNETON

33.21

seconds

3rd

WARRACKNABEAL

33.45

seconds

4th

HORSHAM

37.88

seconds

5th

WARRNAMBOOL

39.06

seconds

 

Event 24 – A Section Marshall, Two Competitors 

1st

WENDOUREE (1) (Craig Broidy, Damon Sutton)

15.19

seconds

2nd

OSBORNE PARK A (2) (James Mullins, Aiden Couzens)

15.73

seconds

3rd

MELTON A (2) (Bailey Rhodes, Devante Johnes) 

15.99

seconds

4th

WERRIBEE (1) (Aiden Trifilio, Michael Trifilo)

16.35

seconds

5th

MELTON A (1) (Jack Geysing, Ben Geysing)

16.46

seconds

 

Event 25 – A Section Hose and Reel Eights 

1st

OSBORNE PARK A

28.09

seconds

2nd

MELTON A

29.84

seconds

3rd

OSBORNE PARK B

30.41

seconds

4th

SALE

30.58

seconds

5th

NARRE WARREN

32.93

seconds

 

Event 26 – B Section Marshall, Two Competitors 

1st

ECHUCA A (1) (Jordan Simpson, Martyn Currrey)

15.96

seconds

2nd

MAFFRA (1) (Brent McKenzie, Cameron Hood)

17.06

seconds

3rd

HOPPERS CROSSING (2) (Christopher Trawn, Gary Trawn)

17.46

seconds

4th

KNOX GROUP (1) (William Johnson, Benjamin Landells)

17.51

seconds

5th

COHUNA (1) (Adrian Stone, Shannon Treacy)

17.81

seconds

 

Event 27 – Champion Fours 

1st

MELTON A

17.30

seconds

2nd

OSBORNE PARK A

17.59

seconds

3rd

PATTERSON RIVER

17.77

seconds

4th

ECHUCA A

19.04

seconds

5th

KANGAROO FLAT

19.80

seconds

 

Vic./W.A. Challenge Event

Victorian team time – 29.08 seconds

 

East vs West Challenge Events

Hose & Reel Eights – Open

1st

West

30.59

seconds

2nd

East

31.03

seconds

 

Wet Hose Striking One Disc Twice – Female

1st

West

17.89

seconds

2nd

East

18.56

seconds

 

Torchlight Procession

1st

MELTON

98.00%

 

2nd

DIAMOND CREEK

97.00%

 

=3rd

EUROA, MARYVALE, PATTERSON RIVER, WERRIBEE

95.00%

 


FINAL AGGREGATE RESULTS

Dry Aggregate

1st

OSBORNE PARK A

23

Points

2nd

MARYVALE

19

Points

=3rd

DANDENONG & ECHUCA A

11

Points

 

Wet Aggregate

1st

MELTON A

90

Points

2nd

OSBORNE PARK A

66

Points

3rd  

COHUNA

52

Points

 

Female Aggregate

1st

TATURA

16

Points

2nd

NARRE WARREN

11

Points

3rd

HOPPERS CROSSING

8

Points

 

SECTION AGGREGATES:

‘A’ SECTION

1st

MELTON A

97

Points

2nd

OSBORNE PARK A

92

Points

3rd

MARYVALE

43

Points

 

‘A’ SECTION WET AGGREGATE

1st

MELTON A

90

Points

2nd

OSBORNE PARK A

66

Points

3rd 

WENDOUREE

28

Points

 

 ‘B’ SECTION

1st

COHUNA

56

Points

=2nd

ECHUCA A & HOPPERS CROSSING

53

Points

 

‘B’ SECTION WET AGGREGATE

1st

COHUNA

52

Points

2nd

HOPPERS CROSSING

50

Points

3rd

ECHUCA A

34

Points

 

APPLIANCE AGGREGATES

‘A’ SECTION

1st

MELTON A

48

Points

2nd

WENDOUREE

20

Points

=3rd

DANDENONG & NARRE WARREN

10

Points

 

‘B’ SECTION

1st

COHUNA

30

Points

2nd

WARRNAMBOOL

20

Points

3rd

ECHUCA A

18

Points

 

2024 CHAMPION BRIGADE:    

The team members of MELTON A are:

  1. James Arandt
  2. Jake Carrol
  3. Ben Geysing
  4. Jack Geysing
  5. Lorelei Geysing
  6. Ashley Goudie
  7. Denzel Johns
  8. Devante Johns
  9. Gabby Keats
  10. Brodie Leitch
  11. Bailey Rhodes
  12. Cooper Rhodes
  13. Ryan Stone
  14. Jacob Steel
  15. Coach & Competitor Anthony Rhodes

 

Results for the 2024 Champion Competitor:

1st

Bailey Rhodes – Melton A

30

Points

=2nd

Craig Briody and Damon Sutton – Wendouree

18

Points

 

 

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