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CFA welcomes Fiskville Inquiry interim report
Today we welcome the Interim Report handed down from the Parliamentary Inquiry into Fiskville.
The report makes three recommendations to the Victorian Government based on information presented to date at the public hearings held since May. The common theme of these recommendations is a desire to ensure greater transparency for our firefighters and the wider community on environmental and health-related issues. The CFA supports these recommendations.
As I have previously stated, CFA has been under the microscope during the Inquiry and so it should be. The safety and wellbeing of our members must be CFA’s number one priority. Every week, our members put themselves in dangerous situations to protect the lives of Victorians and their properties. It is our job to protect these members.
It is also our role to make sure every employee and volunteer receives the best possible training so they have the skills and knowledge to protect themselves, as well as others, in the harsh environment in which they operate. While the focus has rightly been on the issues at Fiskville, it should not distract from the important training our people need to keep them safe when they attend incidents and emergencies. CFA is a close-knit family and there is a commitment to take care of each other and a trust that this will occur.
We have already acted on more than 100 recommendations from three reports into Fiskville. Any insight from the Inquiry’s report that will assist the CFA to protect its members will be incorporated into the suite of initiatives that have been, or are currently being, implemented. I can assure you that the CFA management team will face the outcomes, knowing that it has a responsibility to its members, past and future.
When hearings resume in coming months, CFA management will be called to explain how it has managed the issues at Fiskville since they were raised in the media in late 2011. We look forward to this opportunity.
The final report from the Inquiry will be tabled by 1 December and the Government is required to respond to this within six months.
We will now take time to consider the interim report and share and consult with our members. I will be visiting CFA regions to discuss the report and our actions in response. I encourage all CFA members, and members of the community, to hold us to account, to work with us to share concerns and to improve practices.
If people need to be held to account they will be, however, in the short term it is important to let the Inquiry process run its course. We will review the negative statements and allegations heard during the Inquiry and respond as an organisation via further submissions to the Inquiry on behalf of people who feel they have been unfairly judged.