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CFA, like all government entities in the current global financial setting, needs to tighten its belt. In part this means that we need to re-phase the timelines of current programs like Project 2016 to ensure they remain within our forecast budgets for the immediate years ahead.
I understand that when reports arise about program changes, there may be concerns for our members and also for the public. The prevailing setting means that we have made some key decisions and the Executive is committed to delivering these in a planned and professional manner.
Therefore the next recruit training course has been scheduled for February 2013. Our intention is for this to be the last course for the 2012-13 financial year and we anticipate the number of participants will be limited to 15.
We are still committed to recruiting the total 342 firefighters as part of Project 2016. The additional firefighters will still be recruited, however it will take longer than originally expected.
As I have said previously, we will maintain our commitment to service delivery. We will continue to provide support to Brigades and volunteers and will continue operational training at the levels of the previous year. Most importantly, we are committed to maintaining our frontline service delivery to the community.
Also, judging by our assessment of the current low attrition rate for firefighters, the number of new recruits required at this stage is significantly lower than our previous projections. We are now assessing attrition rates on a monthly basis in order to manage the training program accordingly; therefore the February course will comprise five Project 2016 recruits and ten ‘attrition' recruits.
We will continue to assess and make adjustments to the recruit program and the expansion of our workforce in a way that is consistent with responsible service delivery and financially sustainable decisions.