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Call for nominations for bravery awards
In recognition of CFA members who provided outstanding service to Victorian communities during the fires of 2009, a call for nominations for bravery awards is being sent out to CFA members this month. The call will be made via a letter co-signed by the Chief Officer and myself, included in the latest edition of Brigade Magazine. We encourage those who know a CFA member deserving of this recognition to put forward a nomination.
Those wishing to nominate a CFA member can do so by logging into Brigades Online and downloading a nomination form at this link: http://cfaonline.cfa.vic.gov.au/mycfa/Show?pageId=serviceHistory or via this pathway for Brigades Online: Brigades Online > Brigade > Service History & Awards or this pathway for the Intranet: Intranet > HR > Service History & Awards.
The recent announcement by the State Government of an independent inquiry into arrangements for volunteers is a significant one for CFA. We welcome the inquiry, to be led by former County Court Judge David Jones, which will look at recruitment, training and support for volunteers, among other matters, and report back to the Government at the end of June.
At the March 28 joint CFA/VFBV Board meeting, CFA and the VFBV agreed to establish a joint working party to look at new national OH&S legislation and work through any potential issues for volunteers. We agreed we need to regularly examine OH&S processes and procedures to ensure we are fully compliant and fulfilling our obligations to CFA members. There was strong agreement for the need for CFA to develop its OHS procedures, processes and overall compliance approach in such a way as to support volunteer members to fulfil their obligations and avoid wherever possible creating additional workload, reporting burden or red tape. The Boards discussed the need to continue existing protections for volunteers.
Through the working party the two organisations will begin a process of engaging with the regulator and we look forward to it reporting back.
Also at the March Board meeting, the Chief Officer reported on the successful deployment of CFA urban search and rescue specialists Doug Broom and Tony Heafield to New Zealand as part of an Australian contingent to assist in recovery operations following the Christchurch earthquake. We welcome Doug and Tony back to Victoria and thank them for their great work. The Chief also reported on a number of inter agency secondments planned between CFA and MFB over the coming months. CFA will use this opportunity to fill long term vacancies at some CFA stations.
In another example of interagency cooperation, the CEO highlighted the draft Fire Management Plan for Loddon Mallee, now released for public comment, as a good example of consultation on a municipal FMP. A complete snapshot of bushfire risk, the plan is the result of collaboration between 23 member organisations of the Regional Committee that includes emergency services, state and local government and key utilities.