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Tuesday, 19 July 2016 00:00

CFA Challenge Program 2017 - Apply Now

CFA Challenge Program is an annual, 12-day leadership development program open to all CFA members aged 16 and above.  Since 1994 more than 800 members have taken part in the Chairman’s Scholarship/Challenge Program.  Challenge 2017 will run from Saturday 14 January to Wednesday 25 January 2017 at Creswick and in Gippsland. The program aims to identify potential future leaders, and present challenges and experiences that will uncover and enhance their leadership abilities.

The first three days of the program are conducted at Melbourne University’s Creswick Campus, Creswick where participants explore their values and goals, and gain a greater understanding of their own motivators and personal interactions. The program enables participants to bond as a team and operate in a safe environment to maximise their learning potential and make the most of their time on the Challenge program.

These concepts are then put into practice as participants spend seven days in the bush, led by Outward Bound Australia, working to break down their own boundaries, overcome fears and test their team work and leadership abilities by completing a demanding, adventure based leadership and team development program, consisting of team building and adventure based activities including:

  • Bushwalking
  • White Water Rafting
  • Abseiling
  • Caving
  • Orienteering
  • Rock Climbing
  • Canoeing

The Challenge 2017 program will provide participants with the opportunities to:

  • Clarify personal values, and discover more about their potential;
  • Develop leadership skills and attributes;
  • Confront and overcome self-imposed limits;
  • Learn how to better relate to others;
  • Enhance self-motivation and personal performance; and
  • Be a supportive and creative team member.

Andrea Bastow, from Kilmore Fire Brigade was a participant of Challenge 2016 and strongly recommends this opportunity to other members. “Whether you want to take the next step as a leader or if you want to learn more about what you are capable of, Challenge is the ideal experience for you” said Andrea.

“I not only picked up new skills and learned things about myself, but I’ve also build a bond and found lifelong friendships” she added.

“The CFA Challenge Program taught me that I can rise to any challenge – I can even climb a mountain apparently.” 

Katelyn Stares, now a senior member at Sebastopol, says if it wasn't for experiences such as the CFA Challenge Program, which she attended in 2014, she wouldn't be the person she is today. 

Past participants consistently describe Challenge as a ‘life changing experience’. It has become a highly regarded and sought-after development opportunity for which participants are selected on merit, enthusiasm and leadership potential.  Challenge runs 2 courses simultaneously - Group 1 - CFA members 16 & 17 years of age and Group 2 - CFA members over the age of 18 years.

Challenge 2017 applications will be open online from Monday 25 July and must be completed by the applicant, endorsed by the Brigade Captain/Line Manager and submitted to the local District Learning and Development Team by Wednesday 14 September 2016.

To apply, download the Application & Selection Guidelines and relevant Application Form from: 

Brigades Online/Intranet (https://cfaonline.cfa.vic.gov.au>Training>Course Information>Challenge). 

Enquiries This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Coming up in August, the CFA-SES Community Engagement & Hazard Awareness State Forum is a 2-day community safety conference that brings together hundreds of emergency services personnel from across the state.

The conference provides training and mentoring opportunities to members. Participants can build on their community engagement knowledge; share outcomes of local community safety initiatives and projects; and expand their support networks.

The forum will take place at Mantra Lorne on the weekend of 6/7 August this year.  

Free of Charge: all conference costs, meals and overnight accommodation will be covered. Standard CFA approval requirements apply; volunteers must have approval from their Brigade Captain; employees must have approval from their Line Manager.

Any CFA member can register their interest in attending here:  State Forum 2016 RoI  

Registering does not guarantee a place at the State Forum - final attendees will be notified via email by 1 July 2016.

The State Forum is an initiative of CFA Member Engagement. For more information, Brigade members can talk to their CEC or BASO or contact CFA Member Engagement on (03) 9282 8982 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016 00:00

A time to honour our fallen firefighters

CFA Media release - Thursday, 21 April 2016

Victorians are invited to pay respect to the state’s fallen firefighters by attending the Annual Memorial Service for Firefighters on Sunday, 1 May.

Memorial services are held in a different regional centre each year, with the 2016 service to be held in Wodonga.

CFA Chief Executive Officer Lucinda Nolan said the service was dedicated to remembering firefighters who had given their lives in the line of duty.

“There are 67 members who have lost their lives through service to the community,” Ms Nolan said.

“The number of people directly affected by this loss is even greater, and we pay our respects to their friends, families and loved ones.

“More broadly, it’s a time to honour the personal sacrifices and commitment that our firefighters make each and every day.

“We are forever changed by each of these losses and lessons we’ve learned as a result continue to shape our organisation.”

CFA Chief Officer Joe Buffone said the service would also mark the 10-year anniversary of the deaths of Barnawartha Fire Brigade member Rebecca Helwig and former Campbell’s Creek Urban Fire Brigade Captain Trevor Day.

“The passing of both members in separate accidents in 2006 hit the CFA community hard,” Mr Buffone said.   

“It is a constant reminder of the inherent dangers posed by not just firefighting, but within any emergency services organisation.”

Three new CFA memorial banners will be unveiled at this year’s service as a representation of CFA’s memorial wall.

The memorial is held on the Sunday closest to International Firefighters’ Day, known as St Florian’s Day (4 May).

This will be the 18th service held in regional Victoria with the 2015 service held in Ballarat.

The service will be held from 2pm at the Sacred Heart Church, Beechworth Road, Wodonga.

Friday, 15 April 2016 00:00

Digital Scanners – Tier 3 Orders Open

Brigades have now been notified of their successful orders for digital scanners under Tier 2 of the subsidy scheme, and have until 15 May to pay for their scanners.

The subsidy scheme has been a great success, and more than 1,000 Brigades and Groups have received subsidised digital scanners under Tier 1 and 2 orders.

All of the subsidised scanners have now been allocated, but you can order additional units at cost price – still well under retail - under Tier 3 of the program, which is open until 30 June 2016.

Get your Tier 3 orders in now;

Download the Brigade Order Form here

Download the Group Order Form here

You can download the updated FAQ sheet by clicking here, or download a copy of the Tier 2 confirmation letter and instructions by clicking here.

The whole subsidy program has been an outstanding success for members, and is a great example of CFA and VFBV working together for the benefit for our members.

Friday, 01 April 2016 00:00

CFA CEO Update: new hotline for members

By: Lucinda Nolan

Our workplace must be one free from bullying, harassment and discrimination.

And if you do experience any of these types of unreasonable behaviour, we want you to feel safe to report it.

If you believe you are experiencing bullying or harassment, you can now report this through our dedicated and independent hotline.

The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will be managed by an independent external team.

The hotline number is 1800 795 075.

All callers will be treated with dignity and respect – there will be no judgement about the information they are providing. Each call will be managed confidentially, with the consent of the caller helping to determine the way the report is best managed.

These complaints will then be referred to an external consultant who is a specialist in complaint and issues resolution. They will follow up with the caller within 72 hours of the initial complaint, and will assist in managing the case until a resolution is reached. The type of resolution chosen will vary depending on the nature of the complaint.

Complaints can also continue to be made directly to your direct manager.

This hotline is in addition to the range of support services and resources already available to help members manage their mental health and deal with difficulties when they arise. Information about these services can be found here.

We made the commitment to introduce the hotline following the release of the independent Fire Services Review.

In the past 12 months, 24 complaints of harassment and bullying in CFA have been formally lodged.

This is a relatively small number in an organisation of 57,000 but we are concerned that there may be under reporting of these issues.

As I have said before, I don’t believe harassment and bullying are widespread in CFA, but any type of this behaviour will not be tolerated.

I want to reiterate again that changing our culture will not be solved alone by initiatives and strategies. We all need to do our part.

Monday, 14 December 2015 00:00

CFA Wellbeing Survey

CFA’s 2015 Wellbeing Research Survey closes at midnight this Sunday, 20 December.

The survey is anonymous, takes about 15 minutes to complete and is designed to help CFA improve its mental health and wellbeing services for all members.

If you have questions about the survey or would like a paper based version of it, please contact CFA’s wellbeing intake line on (03) 9262 8409.

To take the survey online, click on this link

For more information about CFA’s support services, go to


The 2015 CFA Wellbeing Research Survey is now under way.

The survey is open to all CFA members and can be completed online at https://secure.insyncsurveys.com.au/surveys/CFAWellbeingResearch2015/ up until 20 December this year.

The survey only takes about 15 minutes to complete and your feedback will help to improve CFA’s mental health and wellbeing services for all members.

Psychological health and safety is a key part of CFA’s new ‘Safety’ value.  The 2015 wellbeing survey aims to support mental health and wellbeing in CFA thereby supporting Safety for all our members.

Responses to the survey will remain anonymous.

For more information or if you would like a paper based version of the survey, please contact CFA’s wellbeing intake line on (03) 9262 8409.

Thursday, 15 October 2015 00:00

New Chief Officer for CFA

VFBV welcomes the appointment of former DCO Joe Buffone as CFA’s new Chief Officer, due to take up the role in November.

Mr Buffone is currently the Deputy Commissioner of Risk and Resilience for Emergency Management Victoria (EMV). He has also served as Deputy Emergency Services Commissioner for Victoria, and performed a series of senior roles with CFA in the wake of the 2009 fires and the Victorian floods of 2010-11. He has been a CFA volunteer for more than 15 years.

Joe Buffone will succeed CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson. Euan will be remembered as a hands-on Chief Officer, who took up the role in 2010 after 10 years at the head of South Australia's Country Fire Service and led CFA through a time of considerable change, including the effects of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission and the move towards a more interconnected Emergency Management Sector.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015 00:00

Fire Safety Pledge - Brigades can win $1,000

CFA’s Fire Safety Pledge promotion is now open and will run until 3 December 2015.

Brigades are asked to encourage members of the public to visit;  http://thefiresafetypledge.com.au/ and make a simple pledge that they will undertake activities to reduce their risk or better prepare themselves for fire.

It is designed to be an additional and innovative fun way to engage with the community around fire safety this year.

Members making the pledge are invited to nominate their local CFA brigade – there are prizes for the participant, and the Brigade can win up to $1,000 to be used for anything it feels would benefit the brigade and local community.

Brigades are encouraged to promote this campaign by;

  • Sharing on Social Media
  • Emails by individual Brigade members to families, friends and other contacts
  • iPad/Tablet/Laptop stands at CFA Open Days, Ritchies supermarket displays, Bunnings BBQ events or other planned community engagement events
  • Engaging local media to write a story
  • Engaging key local figures to promote the pledge, such as MPs, Mayors, business leaders or the leaders of sporting/community clubs.

Download the Fire Safety Pledge kit for volunteers here.

This promotion has been supported and endorsed by our Joint VFBV/CFA Community Safety Committee and Brigades are encouraged to take it up at the local level.

Monday, 05 October 2015 00:00

Message from CFA CEO Michael Wootten

From CFA News & Media - Thursday 8 October
For the past 14 years I have been fortunate to work for an organisation that demonstrates each and every day how our volunteers, supported by our staff, make a positive difference in their communities.  I am inspired by the commitment and dedication of our people to serving this state in so many ways.

So it’s with sadness that I recently learnt of my unsuccessful application for the role of CEO at CFA, and will therefore depart CFA.  This is a matter that I’ve discussed with the Acting Chair, and I believe it’s the right approach at this time.

I have always been proud to tell people I work for the Country Fire Authority and I will look back at my years here as the best in my working career.  I can honestly say that I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to CFA.

The reason I have loved working at CFA has been the people – underpinned primarily by our volunteers - who are at the heart of the organisation. We couldn’t exist without them and this State would be the poorer without the selfless dedication to service displayed each and every day.

It’s been a pleasure to serve you as an Executive Director and more recently as the CEO in the pursuit of our mission.

During my time at CFA, we have endured significant challenges, such as Black Saturday and the subsequent Royal Commission.  We have been the subject of many inquiries and reviews and will continue to be, nevertheless I have been proud to be part of an organisation that’s been able to critically look at itself and find ways to improve and become stronger for the benefit of not only our own people, but for the people of this State.

We have always been, and will continue to be, leaders in our communities and collaborative partners in the emergency services sector more generally, and I am exceedingly proud of our many achievements in the face of the challenges and uncertainty.  Change however is a constant, and I am sure the future will be faced with the same determination and assurance as we have provided in the past.

I want to thank the Executive Leadership Team for their unconditional support, as well as the encouragement and guidance I have received from former Chair Claire Higgins and the CFA Board.  I also want to thank the people with whom I have worked closely, for their loyalty and devotion to service.  I leave CFA with a significant sense of appreciation and fondness.

I will be finishing at CFA on Friday, 6 November.

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


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