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Resignation of CFA Chair
On Saturday 29 August, I advised the Minister for Emergency Services The Honorable Jane Garrett MP that I was resigning from the position of Chair of CFA, effective immediately. The reasons for my resignation are my own.
CFA is a remarkable organisation. We can truly say that it was forged by fire and the tough lessons learned by those who battled it in the bush in the 19th century, and the wood cutters, forestry workers and farming families of the 20th century.
The foundations of CFA are the resilience and self-sufficiency of country families and that same know-how can-do attitude is carried on by tens of thousands of members today.
I’ve been exceptionally proud to serve as Chair of the CFA Board since 2012 and associated with CFA for almost 8 years. It has been a privilege and an absolute pleasure to be invited into fire stations across Victoria for station openings, truck handovers and brigade dinners. There have been so many memorable events such as the Easter art show at Hillside, lunch with representatives of peer support, meeting members and speaking at the Womens Forum at Berriwillock about leading change, sitting and chatting with staff from various stations such as Warrnambool, Portland, and Wodonga.
I take away memories of many treasured conversations with members eager to clue me into their brigade’s particular challenges and achievements. I hope you feel I have listened to your concerns and feedback.
I’ve been stirred to see the new recruits marching into the parade ground on graduating into the career firefighting ranks, and to see hard-won national emergency medals presented to our members.
I’ve met members who are not just hardworking and well trained but utterly passionate about their brigades and communities. There are members who are meticulous about the truck and others whose lives have blossomed in retirement as they’ve launched head first into a brigade or group leadership or community safety role.
People don’t join CFA because it’s easy. In fact, in many cases they join because it presents them with challenges they want to take on. They want to put their hand up for their community and be part of its protective shield against fire, flood and other emergencies.
CFA is a proud volunteer and community-based fire and emergency service organisation. It is going through a turbulent transition but change is a positive. The heart and soul of CFA remains the front line: your surge capacity and commitment to training, and your connection to our communities.
I know you will continue to polish these ‘nuggets’ every day, value your community, your relationships and yourselves.
I warmly thank the other members of the CFA Board, the executive, and the VFBV for their support and encouragement. To all the members of every fire brigade across the vast territory covered by CFA, I thank you for your support and goodwill and my best wishes for your future emergency service endeavours.