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CEO Update: EA, member forums, fire season inquiry
It’s again been a busy few weeks across CFA.
As you’d be aware, CFA’s Board has now asked me to put the proposed Operational Enterprise Agreement (EA) to a vote of operational staff.
At this stage, operational staff covered will be able to vote on the agreement between 25 August and 1 September.
The Board resolved that it is in CFA’s best interest to progress this agreement and for all of us to unite behind our common purpose of protecting life and property.
We understand this has been a difficult time for our staff and volunteers and now we must turn our attention to the task of healing the divisions and leading the organisation into a new era.
Wodonga Captains’ Forum
Last Sunday I attended the first ever District 24 Captains’ Forum at the Wodonga ICC, joining 40 Captains and Group Officers for the day and for an Open Forum alongside the Regional Leadership Team.
The day in Wodonga reinforced the extent to which captains are leading across a vast array of disciplines, addressing constantly changing community expectations.
Topics canvassed in Wodonga included everything from the use of solar panels, the length of time it takes to clean PPC, social media and member wellbeing to community safety, vegetation management and the role of district teams. I was left with the strong impression that captains’ priorities are squarely focused on the wellbeing of their brigades and communities.
I also visited the Wodonga Fire Station and spent time talking with the career staff; and with each visit my knowledge of the extensive work undertaken by CFA improves.
These forums – like the similarly-oriented Brigade Management Team forums – are a critical initiative for CFA. There is a strong and growing appetite for opportunities like these – events that allow captains and brigade managers to get fresh perspectives on shared issues and establish informal support networks.
Special thanks to District 24 Operations Manager Paul King for the invitation to attend and to the local captains for their hospitality.
Finally, I encourage you to read this account of the recent District 22 Captains’ Forum. It provides a lively, first-hand account of the diverse challenges faced by our captains.
It was an absolute privilege to meet and speak with participants at the Forum held earlier this month in Lorne. The Forum brought together CFA and SES community leaders from the around the state who used the occasion to tighten networks and share community-inspired safety and engagement initiatives.
I attended the keynote address from Dr Brian Cook of Melbourne University’s School of Geography. Brian challenged us to take aboard the idea that ‘Education is not engagement.’ It was a highly thought-provoking session that stimulated plenty of discussion. I encourage you to watch Brian’s presentation in its entirety.
Congratulations to the organising team for hosting an outstanding event.
Parliamentary Inquiry into Fire Season Preparedness
CFA appeared at the Parliamentary Inquiry into Fire Season Preparedness on Wednesday 4 August.
It was an opportunity for Chief Officer Steve Warrington, Chair Greg Smith and myself to impress upon the Legislative Council Committee the large volume of work done by CFA in collaboration with our partners, such as DELWP, ahead of the summer fire season.
CFA can be very confident that it is well prepared. The extent and detail of that work is summarised here in Steve’s presentation to the Inquiry.
The work touches on many corners of our organisation as well as across the emergency services sector. It’s a body of effort that reflects very well on what we do and how we do it.