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CFA is doing everything possible to deploy Aerial Pumpers, Heavy Hazmats, Mobile Command Vehicles and Technical Rescue Pods in a timely manner to protect the Victorian community.
Consultation has been extensive and ongoing since 2010 and in some instances even earlier regarding infrastructure, appliances, design, allowances, training and in some instances the matters are finalised. This consultation has taken place with a range of stakeholder including subject matter experts, the United Firefighters (UFU) and Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV).
CFA continues to consult in accordance with all applicable legislation, including the Fair Work Commission recommendation from 5 April 2012 and clause 13 of the 2010 Operational Staff Enterprise Agreement.
All issues raised through this process, in particular the occupational health and safety around Aerial Pumpers and Heavy Hazmat units, have been considered and incorporated where reasonably required. Consultation regarding the Mobile Command Vehicle and Technical Rescue Pod is still progressing.
While opportunities to attend inspections have been offered to all stakeholders, in some instances there has been no response or lack of a response within a reasonable timeframe - particularly from the UFU.
To seek resolution regarding consultation on the specialist appliances with the UFU, CFA has lodged the matter in the Fair Work Commission and is seeking assistance from the Commissioner to clarify the following:
- Whether agreement is required with UFU before CFA can implement the validation training on the new Aerial Pumper at Frankston, or to vehicle design before deployment of new appliances.
- While CFA intends to continue consulting with the relevant stakeholders and considering feedback as per current practice, to require agreement would have a significant impact on objectives and timeframes associated with the specialist appliances.
- Whether the dispute resolution clause requires the party submitting the dispute to: (a) provide an explanation of the grievance (b) outline where the 2010 Operational Staff Enterprise Agreement has not been adhered to.
The matter is listed for mention before Deputy President Smith on 17 June 2013 in the Fair Work Commission.
The Aerial Pumpers are to be located at Shepparton, Mildura, Warrnambool and a service exchange vehicle. UFU has been provided reasonable opportunity to view the appliance and raise concerns and CFA considers that the consultation phase is now complete for the Aerial Pumpers.
The manufacturer’s recall works are complete for the first Aerial Pumper. For the remaining three, the manufacturer has recently indicated that parts for cylinder repair will not be available in Australia until 21 June 2013, which will delay the deployment of these vehicles.
A grievance has recently been lodged by the UFU regarding the training validation on the Aerial Pumper. CFA provided the UFU reasonable opportunities to view the appliance and, prior to the lodgement of the grievance, had further offered an additional opportunity to review the appliance. The grievance is considered by CFA to be a general objection, which does not raise a substantive dispute in accordance with the provisions of the Agreement. CFA is seeking the Fair Work Commission’s assistance in regards to this matter.
The Heavy Hazmats are to be located at Hallam, Shepparton, Ballarat City and Corio. The Hallam and Shepparton vehicles have been delivered to the respective stations. The remaining vehicles will be delivered when the final equipment orders are received from the USA in approximately July 2013. The UFU has been provided reasonable opportunities to view the appliance and raise concerns. The training validation process is now finalised and CFA considers that consultation is complete for the Heavy Hazmats.
Mobile Command Vehicle
CFA continues to consult on the Mobile Command Vehicle and has considered various proposed modifications. UFU inspected the appliance on 22 October 2012 and the Joint CFA/VFBV Infrastructure and Equipment Committee viewed the units (and also Heavy Hazmat and Aerial pumper) during the last meeting on 18 May 2013.
The final deployment location arrangements are currently being determined, these will be advised once finalised. The Mobile Command Vehicles are replacement vehicles and as such no staffing increases are required.
Technical Rescue Pod
Consultation continues around the Technical Rescue Pod, which was recently nominated by an independent ergonomist for a Worksafe Award for innovation and design.
I understand that there is a high level of anticipation from our staff and volunteers for the introduction of these appliances and can assure you that we are doing everything possible to deploy them to protect the Victorian community. Thank you to the team for continuing to progress the deployment of these specialist appliances.
I will provide you all with a further update as the implementation progresses.