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Fiskville, Kilmore East trial, radio dispatch, minimum skills
The May Board meeting was held at Fiskville and it was a pleasure to be part of that hive of activity. CEO Mick Bourke and I were grateful to have the chance to meet and talk to staff, many of whom are long-time employees who live locally.
It was the chance to acknowledge that, while they have laid out the welcome mat countless times for tens of thousands of members of CFA and other organisations, the recent media campaign is hitting very close to home.
The staff of Fiskville look after our people so they can go home and better look after their communities; they directly contribute to the protection of lives and property. The CFA Board and the wider CFA community are utterly supportive of our Fiskville staff and invested in the future of Fiskville.
Mick Bourke updated the Board on the Kilmore East trial. The plaintiff's case has been heard and discussions have begun around the electricity case that SPI will mount. It is expected that the government's case through CFA, DEPI and Victoria Police is not likely to be heard until July at the earliest. The government parties have also offered to assist both the plaintiff and the defendant in growing an understanding of the property loss and personal injury cost of the Kilmore East fire.
The CEO also detailed the consistent approach now being taken to fire station construction and renovation. This means that the combination of station types will be quite different from what it was a year ago with 250 stations due to be either built or upgraded by the end of the government's first term.
Chief Officer Euan Ferguson informed the Board of the Doctrine of Victorian Fire and Emergency Agencies that has now been signed by all agencies. The doctrine will set a common standard to achieve interoperability based on industry best practice, providing guidance on actions and judgements to all agency personnel.
The Chief gave an update on the Regional Radio Dispatch Service that will directly benefit almost 1000 brigades. Some 500 brigades currently operating as Category 1 dispatch on the Interim Regional Dispatch Radio Service will migrate alongside another 500 currently operating as Category 5 dispatch with no direct radio communications to ESTA.
All the recommendations of the recent Minimum Skills review have been endorsed by the Chief Officer. These include the establishment of new training specifications for an all-hazards skills program and its incorporation as the initial training program for volunteers; and the assessment of these skills to be conducted on the job with members under training entering the fireground under direct supervision. The changes may also include the forming of a strategic partnership with TAFE to deliver training to address gaps associated with the awarding of national competencies.