Major Changes For Administration Of Firefighting In Victoria

Major Changes For Administration Of Firefighting In Victoria

Victoria Deputy Premier James Merlino

Modern Fire Services For A Safer Victoria

Victor P Taffa

CFA (Country Fire Authority) will be a volunteer-only firefighting service and the role of volunteers further enshrined under law, Deputy Premier James Merlino said.

However a new organisation, Fire Rescue Victoria, will be established to fight fires in Melbourne and major regional centres, in much-needed and overdue reforms to the state’s fire services that will keep Victorians safe.

“We’ll enshrine the CFA as a volunteer firefighting service under law and unite our career firefighters under one organisation.” Deputy Premier and Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino said.

“We will also drive cultural change with real and ambitious targets to increase the number of female firefighters in our fire services, particularly in leadership roles.”

Victoria has some of the best firefighters in the world, but they currently operate under systems and structures that have not changed since the 1950’s.

In just the last decade, 8 reviews have been undertaken into Victoria’s fire services, including the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. They have made it clear that the state’s services are in need of modernisation.

“We’ve had 8 reviews in the past 10 years. All of them have reached the same conclusion the current fire services structure isn’t working.” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“We are taking action to protect CFA volunteers, modernise our fire services and most importantly keep Victorians safe, wherever they live.”

Andrews Government’s changes, outlined as part of the Fire Services Statement, will respond to these issues, and ensure Victorians can rely on modern and local fire services to keep them safe, regardless of where they live.

“Under the reforms, the CFA will be further protected under law as a volunteer service and our 1,220 CFA brigades will continue to serve their communities as they have always done, as well as providing vital surge capacity during major emergencies.” Deputy Premier James Merlino said.

Importantly, CFA volunteers currently serving at one of the state’s 35 integrated stations will be able to remain at that station, co-locating with Fire Rescue Victoria services.

Additionally, the State Government will make sure CFA volunteers have the equipment and support they need, with a dedicated $56.2 Million CFA Support Fund to strengthen volunteer recruitment, training, brigade support and leadership.

New Fire Rescue Victoria will be established to fight fires in major regional cities and Melbourne, bringing together the MFB and career staff from the state’s 35 integrated CFA stations, including the 450 extra career firefighters currently being delivered.

 

VIC Premier Daniel Andrews

Firefighting Administration to undergo changes

 

 

Fire Rescue Victoria will be based on other successful Police and emergency services organisations, including the model in New South Wales, and be led by its own Commissioner.

Consistent with Recommendation 63 of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, an independent Fire District Review Panel will also be established. The Panel will conduct future reviews of the boundary between fire services, based on population growth, urban development and the volume of Triple 000 calls.

Victoria’s emergency services will also have the very best facilities and equipment, with the establishment of a new Emergency Services Infrastructure Authority. One of the first tasks for the new authority will be to work with the CFA on delivering a new $44 Million station building program.

“Reforms include driving cultural change, including an ambitious target to quadruple the number of career female firefighters in our fire services from 100 to 400, within 4 years. We will also increase the number of women in CFA brigade leadership roles from 265 to 909 over the same period.” Deputy Premier James Merlino said.

To roll out these reforms, an Operational Implementation Committee will be established and chaired by Mr. Greg Mullins AFSM, former Commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW (New South Wales).

Fire and rescue services will continue as normal, and the amount collected through the Fire Services Property Levy will not change over the next two years while the reforms are implemented.