News & Media

Seizing Opportunities to be Ready for the Future

By: Mick Bourke

  11.00 AM 22 October, 2009

Views: 12293

Victoria today is different in many ways from what it was when CFA was formed six and a half decades ago. The social, economic and environmental landscapes have changed: Victorians are highly mobile and have greater access to information through rapidly evolving technology.

Traditional boundaries are continually challenged by increasing population, community needs and expectations, and learning to live with a changing climate. CFA is operating in a new era and, as it has in the past, will ready itself to meet the future needs of Victorians.

Government departments and agencies are adopting the state regional boundaries and aligning with local government area boundaries for planning, operational and administration purposes.

CFA partners, including Victoria Police, Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) and the Departments of Justice, Human Services, Transport, and Education and Early Childhood Development, have already aligned or intend to align with the state regional boundaries and local government boundaries.
We are moving to these boundaries to be ready for the future. This move will provide CFA with an opportunity to strengthen its position as an essential state-wide emergency service and align its service delivery with other government services.

As we continue to learn from the findings of internal and external reviews into public expectations and needs in large-scale emergencies, the findings of the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission are providing CFA with new directions to prepare for future opportunities and challenges.

The Bushfire Preparedness Program currently being implemented by CFA has been shaped by the Royal Commission's preliminary findings. The Program's many initiatives are already positioning CFA to provide better services to Victorians.

These factors and other independent findings provide us with a strong platform for change and the CFA Board at its 28 September meeting made two significant decisions that will strengthen CFA's position in the future:

  1. CFA will introduce before this fire season a command and control structure for Bushfires in Victoria which is geographically aligned with the state regional boundaries and the local government area boundaries.
  2. The adoption of the state regional boundaries and local government area boundaries for planning, operational and administration purposes except where the Board resolves the adoption of alternative boundaries for operational purposes on the recommendation of the Chief Officer.

CFA's alignment with the new boundaries will allow ‘the Chief' Russell Rees to comply with changes to the Emergency Management Act, the State Emergency Response Plan and the intent of the recommendations of the Interim Report of the Bushfires Royal Commission.

This alignment will strengthen the coordination across government agencies of emergency management preparation and deployment; and strengthen our position as the lead state fire-control agency during major bushfires in the future.

Together we need to implement the new command and control structure before this fire season, and with your support I aim to conclude CFA's alignment with the state regional boundaries and local government area boundaries by July 2010.

With my Directors, I will draw deeply into the organisation's bank of knowledge to ready CFA for the future and I will keep you informed of our progress.

Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria and the United Firefighters Union have been consulted on the new direction and I will continue to work with them and other stakeholders to achieve the best outcomes for CFA and Victorians.

Last Updated: 10 December 2015