News & Media

News posts from Mick Bourke

Murrindindi civil proceeding: parties settle

The parties in the Murrindindi civil proceeding have agreed to settle the action. The trial was due to start in the Supreme Court this week, however, the parties agreed to settle this morning.

2.21 PM 6 February, 2015

Remembering the February 2009 fires

A message from myself and Chief Officer Euan Ferguson This week we will remember and honour the 173 people who lost their lives in the state’s most significant natural disaster as we mark the sixth anniversary of the February 2009 bushfires.

2.27 PM 5 February, 2015

Murrindindi trial starts Wednesday

As you may be aware, the trial of the Murrindindi civil proceeding is scheduled to start next Wednesday, 4 February 2015.

4.01 PM 30 January, 2015

CFA releases latest video on proposed values

A message from myself and Chief Officer Euan Ferguson Over the past three months we have been asking you to tell us what values you think truly represent CFA. In an organisation as diverse as CFA, our values need to be a statement of what is important to us, what we stand for and what we won't compromise on.

12.19 PM 30 January, 2015

Fiskville Firefighters’ Health Study – support for members

Over the past 24 hours there has been significant interest in and media coverage of Monash University’s Fiskville Firefighters’ Health Study of people who worked and trained at Fiskville between 1971 and 1999.

3.41 PM 22 January, 2015

Monash University – Fiskville firefighters’ health study

Today the Premier announced the release of Monash University’s Fiskville Firefighters’ Health Study of people who worked and trained on the Fiskville hot fire training ground between 1971 and 1999. 

1.07 PM 21 January, 2015

Federal Court hands down its decision

The Federal Court handed down its decision today (Thursday 8 January) regarding the appeals of Justice Murphy’s decision last January. The decision related to a number of issues around the recruitment and allocation of CFA Operational Staff. The court found against CFA in all matters. The decision means that CFA is required to observe all terms of the present agreement as they are written. While this decision is not what we expected, we accept the decision of the Federal Court. We are now considering the implications of the decision and will provide further updates. Regards, Mick Bourke CEO

3.35 PM 8 January, 2015

Season's Greetings to all members

The ELT and the Chair and Board Members of CFA would like to thank every member for their contribution to CFA and their communities through 2014. As this year comes to a close, we want to remind all of you to take care of yourselves and those you hold dear over the festive period ahead and throughout the summer as you go about your work. CFA's mission means every firefighter returns home safely after every incident, and we want you all to return to your families and loved ones safe and well this season. As usual it’s been a very busy year for CFA and we are preparing for another challenging season ahead. This summer is predicted to be a potentially major fire season for almost all of Victoria. We’re well prepared and we’re sure you’re ready to do your very best to protect lives and property. We’d like to reinforce the importance of everyone at CFA working in unity to achieve our mission. Throughout the year, we’ve developed our relationships with emergency services agencies across government, industry and the community. This has already proved worthwhile as we’ve seen in the early start to the season. Thank you to our partner agencies.  We will continue to work together throughout the summer fire season. As part of our preparations, we looked at and will continue to improve the way we use volunteers on strike teams. It will help us to better understand our volunteer capacity at any given time. We are also encouraging local leadership and decision making to help us focus on our mission. We also want to take this opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months and acknowledge your efforts and achievements. Our members have provided outstanding service at fires and incidents across the state and assisted our colleagues in Canada. Earlier this year we saw many challenging long-running fires, including the 45-day battle to bring the Hazelwood Mine fire under control. It was also a significant year of change at CFA. We moved from eight to five regions and we welcomed five new Assistant Chief Officers to their roles. We acknowledge the change process has been challenging but this year we have made good progress to develop organisational structures that will better support our front-line.  These changes will also ensure CFA is best positioned to meet the needs of our communities and our evolving emergency management sector. This year has also seen many new initiatives to better support our front-line volunteers, including the Brigade Sustainability pilot and the Volunteer Support Program. We have also been asking for your views on the draft Volunteerism Strategy to ensure CFA continues to encourage and value the contribution of volunteers. In other work, we have developed a range of services to better support the wellbeing of our people. And our members have also put in tremendous work to inform and educate their communities ahead of the upcoming fire season. In 2014 we also saw upgrades to five training centres, the opening of VEMTC at Craigieburn and our portable training props put into action. This will give our people access to better practical training for many years to come. Again, we want to thank all of you for your hard work in 2014 and the dedication you show CFA. You should be very proud of your efforts and we want to thank you for making CFA what it is today. All the best to you and your families this festive season and in 2015.   Regards Mick Bourke          Euan Ferguson CEO                      Chief Officer

3.38 PM 19 December, 2014

Our proposed values following consultation

As you may know, CFA is working to identify three to five values that will unify us, and guide us in the way we work and how we serve our communities. CFA’s senior leaders have had the conversation around our values but we still need your help. You may remember, last month we released eight draft values which were based on your feedback from the culture surveys. I would like to thank those of you who have shared your ideas and thoughts with us so far. We have been listening to your feedback and we have updated our draft values to reflect your comments and feelings. We would now like to present five proposed values for further consideration. Based on what you’ve told us so far, we know that many of you want more time to talk about our values. That’s why, over the next eight weeks, CFA’s leaders will be continuing the conversation with you about our proposed values. We want you to be involved so our values are truly representative of CFA. In the meantime, I encourage each of you to share your thoughts on the five proposed values at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. // or visit our Culture Program website. We look forward to hearing from you. Regards Mick Bourke CEO

2.35 PM 16 December, 2014

Australian Firefighters’ Health Study released today

As mentioned in my blog yesterday, AFAC and Monash University’s Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health have now released the Australian Firefighters’ Health Study. You can read the full report here. While we take some time to consider this lengthy report, please remember that the Firefighter Advisory Service is available if you are concerned that you may have contracted cancer through firefighting. The Firefighter Advisory Service can help answer enquiries and offer advice about work-related cancer claims. Career and volunteer firefighters can call 1800 060 729 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. // for career firefighters or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. // for volunteer firefighters. Your health and safety is important to us and we are here to support you, as you support your community every day. Regards Mick Bourke  CEO                 

11.38 AM 11 December, 2014

Australian Firefighters Health Study to be released

AFAC and Monash University’s Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health will release the Australian Firefighters Health Study tomorrow. The retrospective health study of firefighters was commissioned by AFAC in 2011 and is a significant piece of work into firefighters’ mortality and cancer incidence. We welcome the release of the study and I would like to thank Associate Professor Deborah Glass, Professor Malcolm Sim and their team for their efforts in compiling what should be considered the best body of work done in Australia to date on this topic. I would also like to thank all members of the Advisory Committee for their contribution to the study. The aims of the study were to:        Examine mortality and cancer incidence among firefighters divided into male and female, career full-time and part-time, paid and volunteer groups;        Investigate different sub-groups within the firefighter population. The result is a lengthy and detailed report and we will need to take some time to consider the information within the report. CFA, along with many fire services, has contributed time, money and effort in ensuring the report is as comprehensive and inclusive as possible.  Regards Mick Bourke  CEO 

5.04 PM 10 December, 2014

Parliamentary Inquiry into Fiskville

The Andrews Labor Government today announced it will hold a Parliamentary Inquiry into Fiskville. CFA will support the Parliamentary Inquiry, by a Joint Parliamentary Committee, and provide any assistance required. The committee will provide an interim report by June 2015 and a final report by December 2015. Regards Mick Bourke  CEO                 

5.29 PM 9 December, 2014

2014 Fire Awareness Awards winners announced

On behalf of CFA’s leadership, we’d like to congratulate the 10 CFA winners of the 2014 Fire Awareness Awards, held last night. The big winner was the Emerald CFA Brigade which, together with the Emerald Community House, took home the Community Preparedness Award (community) and the $10,000 RACV Insurance Award for Excellence. The groups developed compulsory fire safety workshops for parents of children attending a local childcare centre. Well done to Emerald Brigade! CFA took out awards in the categories of community preparedness; industry and service; multicultural; new and emerging technology; product design; and recovery. Congratulations to all involved. The Gippsland community and industry were well represented on the night with three projects making it through as finalists and two projects winning category awards. Gippsland’s Community Corrections CFA Bushfire Prevention Partnership with the Department of Justice won the Community Preparedness Award (Industry), and the East Gippsland Community and CFA Farm Fencing Recovery Program the Recovery Award (Community). Each year since 1983, the prestigious awards – a joint initiative of CFA, MFB, and DEPI – have recognised the extraordinary achievements of individuals, groups and organisations in their efforts to reduce the effects of fires across our state. Again this year, the standard of the entrants was very high. This year many of the project drivers were volunteers or community groups working to improve fire safety, preparedness, response and recovery. The full list of winners is here. And finally, as we mark International Volunteer Day today, we’d like to give a special shout out to all our volunteers who dedicate their time to helping others. By increasing fire awareness and prevention across our communities we can continue to reduce the incidence and impact of fire across Victoria. Regards, Mick Bourke                                                 Euan Ferguson CEO                                                              Chief Officer     

4.24 PM 5 December, 2014

New Emergency Services Minister

On behalf of CFA's Leadership, I would like to congratulate new Emergency Services Minister Jane Garrett and welcome her to the role. Minister Garrett, who was the Parliamentary Secretary to the Shadow Minister for Police and Emergency Services from February 2012 to December 2013 and Shadow Cabinet Secretary from December 2013, was sworn in as a member of the new Andrews Labor Government today. We wish Minister Garrett every success as she commences this appointment and look forward to working with her into the future.   Regards, Mick Bourke CEO

4.58 PM 4 December, 2014

Hazelwood North collision

A CFA member has been involved in a fatal motor vehicle collision while on CFA business at Hazelwood North this afternoon. The member was not injured. Our thoughts are with everyone involved, especially the family and friends of the deceased. The member is being supported by CFA, as are the firefighters who responded to the incident. CFA is working with Victoria Police who is investigating the collision. Regards, Mick Bourke

2.55 PM 27 November, 2014

Culture and values roadshow

As I mentioned in my last blog regarding our culture, over the next three weeks CFA’s Executive Leadership Team will be travelling across the state to talk to you about CFA’s culture and values. In these sessions we will explore the recent culture survey results and CFA’s proposed values. Most importantly, we will be seeking your thoughts and feedback. The roadshow will kick off this Friday, November 21, with the first session being held at CFA HQ. ELT members have been allocated to regions and will be visiting each of the five regions - you can see a current schedule of locations and dates here. These will be updated progressively in coming days. This roadshow is part of our commitment to improving our culture. In recent weeks we have started a new conversation around culture, beginning with this video to explain how it fits together with our change journey. We also presented a live stream session on the culture survey results and told you our key priorities as an Executive Leadership Team: being accountable for decision making and reviewing our values. We know that our values influence our organisation’s culture so we’ve taken the first steps in developing these proposed values for you to review and provide feedback on. We know that a strong culture plus good strategy equals high performance. That’s where we want CFA to be. For more information on the Culture Program, please visit our webpage here. If you have any questions or feedback please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. // We look forward to seeing you all soon.  Regards Mick Bourke

4.04 PM 18 November, 2014

Fair Work Commission hands down decision

CFA has welcomed the decision handed down by Deputy President Smith of the Fair Work Commission regarding the current Operational Staff Agreement bargaining dispute between CFA and UFU.  As outlined in my blog on Tuesday, CFA had requested the Fair Work Commission issue a further good faith bargaining order to the UFU to progress negotiations. CFA has been successful on this matter. Deputy President Smith ordered the UFU to remove a number of items from the UFU’s log of claims. President Deputy Smith found “… amongst other matters, that clauses 44 and 45 (or any demand which has the same effect) of the UFU’s revised log of claims cannot be pressed as it would constitute a failure to bargain in good faith”. The two mentioned clauses both attempt to determine the number and identity of persons employed by CFA which is inconsistent with the principles of Re: AEU. For further information in relation to this matter refer to an article published within Workplace Express which is a specialist news publication regarding industrial relations matters. Further update On Friday the UFU appealed the decision and requested a stay of Deputy President Smith’s orders which potentially impacts on any negotiations from proceeding. A stay is requested by the UFU for part of the orders to be put on hold until the appeal is heard. The application for a stay  has been listed for hearing by the Fair Work Commission on Wednesday, 19 November at 10:30am. CFA is disappointed with this most recent update as we are seeking to resume negotiations to provide certainty regarding terms and conditions for our people with a replacement Operational Staff Agreement. CFA is keen to continue to work towards achieving an Agreement which puts us in the best possible position to work together with communities to keep Victorians safe into the future. Regards Mick Bourke

10.34 AM 18 November, 2014

Today’s Media Report

Today’s Herald Sun contains an article regarding job cuts within CFA as part of the Creating our Future Together process.

5.00 PM 17 November, 2014

Reviewing our values

As part of our work to improve our culture, we are developing CFA’s values. In an organisation as diverse as CFA, our values need to be a statement of what is important to us, what we stand for and what we won’t compromise on. We are working to identify three to five valuesthat will guide us in the way we work and how we serve our communities – not what we do, but how we will do things. For values which truly reflect our organisation, we need your input. We have developed these proposed values and we are now seeking your thoughts and comments. Reviewing our values is a key priority for us – which we identified from our work around culture. We know organisational culture is shaped by our shared values and beliefs, which guide us in how we approach and interact with each other. As CFA’s senior leaders, we are committed to driving and leading this change. I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of our Assistant Chief Officers who are championing the values project, and the significant role of the Senior Leadership Team in the broader Culture Program. But we also know we can’t change our culture without our people and we want your thoughts and feedback. Last Friday we started the conversation on culture by hosting a live stream session, which was broadcast across the state. Euan Ferguson, Fran Boyd and I shared the results from the recent staff and volunteer surveys. Live streaming is new for CFA. During the stream, we experienced some technical problems and the connection dropped out several times. We’re working to rectify this for next time, however you can watch the entire video in full here. To continue this conversation, we are visiting each of the regions in the coming weeks to talk to you face-to-face about our culture and values. I will update you on venues and dates in the coming days. If you have any questions or feedback please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. // Regards Mick Bourke

9.23 AM 14 November, 2014

Operational Staff Agreement

Today, Tuesday 11 November, at 3pm Deputy President Smith of the Fair Work Commission will be handing down his decision regarding the current Operational Staff Agreement bargaining dispute between CFA and the UFU. CFA has requested the Fair Work Commission to issue a further good faith bargaining order to the United Firefighters Union to help move negotiations forward. CFA will review the decision once it’s handed down and decide on the next appropriate course of action. We will keep you informed of developments.   Regards, Mick Bourke

2.30 PM 11 November, 2014
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