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Board communique - 31 August 2018

  | CFA News & Media Views: 2159

At the August meeting of the CFA Board Chair Mr Greg Smith AM decided that the important matter of providing certainty to career firefighters over their financial situation should be dealt with at the top of the agenda.

Board communique - 31 August 2018

This arose because the Agreement containing improved wage rates, which was approved in principle by the Board and implemented, was never put to the vote and therefore not submitted to the Fair Work Commission for approval.

The Board discussed entering a Deed sought by career firefighters and the United Firefighters Union (UFU) and agreed unanimously to pursue the making of a Deed to recognise the wages provisions of the proposed 2016 EBA. This is subject to proper consultation with the VFVB and, if a Deed were to progress, examining its final terms. In reaching this view, Board members noted that the allowances outlined in the proposed 2016 EBA were already protected with a variation to the 2010 Agreement.

Safety share

The Chief Officer provided the safety share, noting that he will shortly be putting out a circular covering safety requirements for the coming fire season, including minimum skills, entrapment drill, and hazardous trees awareness.

Update from Board Committees    

Five of the Board’s seven committees have met since the July Board meeting, and the Chairs of each of these Committees updated the Board on Committee activities. In particular, the Chair of the Finance, Risk and Audit Committee (FRAC) noted that the Committee had been reviewing the Annual Financial Statements, the CFA Budget, and compliance with the Standing Directions of the Minister for Finance. All these issues were included on the agenda for the Board.

Report from the Chief Financial Officer    

The Chief Financial Officer presented the Annual Financial Statements to the Board for its consideration and approval. After hearing from members of FRAC, and having discussions with a representative from the Victorian Auditor General’s Office (VAGO) who attended the meeting for this session, the Board approved the Annual Financial Statements subject to any final adjustments required by VAGO on completion of its audit of the accounts.

The CFO also presented the 2018-19 CFA Budget to the Board for its consideration. The Board approved the Budget, noting that it included some strategic reprioritisations determined by the CFA Executive to better focus resources on CFA’s priorities and key enterprise risks. 

The Board endorsed a report to the Department of Justice and Regulation on CFA’s compliance with the Standing Directions of the Minister for Finance. The Chair of the Board will be making a public attestation in the Annual Report that CFA has complied with applicable Standing Directions.

Integrity Framework    

CFA’s Integrity Officer attended the Board meeting to present the final draft of CFA’s new Integrity Framework to the Board for approval. The Board noted that the Framework incorporates a five-pillar integrity management model. This differs from other public sector models by including a social governance pillar that recognises CFA’s unique position as a community-based organisation.

Report from the CEO    

The Chief Executive Officer spoke to his report to the Board, and highlighted actions planned in response to the People Matter Survey. The CEO noted for the Board that the People Matter results reflect a need for significant improvement for CFA, particularly across wellbeing, bullying and sexual harassment. He noted that Executive is taking a highly proactive leadership role to improve culture at CFA, and that the CEO and Chief Officer would be conducting a roadshow on People Matter across the state.

Report from the CO

The Chief Officer spoke to his report to the Board, highlighting the following matters:

  • 252 applications were received for the 2018-19 Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program, and a CFA statewide steering committee will meet to assess the applications.
  • Training programs have been developed for face-to-face training delivery for Low Voltage Fuse Removal and Safe Working from Heights.
  • The Resource (Vehicle) Tracking System has been launched and is live on EM-COP, EMap and CFA RTS viewer.
  • EMR implementation has commenced in District 7, and six courses have trained approximately 140 staff.

CFA performance    

The Board considered CFA’s performance against the Minister’s Statement of Expectation and the internal expectations set by the CFA Plan. 

Correspondence to the Chair    

The Board notes all correspondence to the Chair and the Board at each of its meetings. This meeting, the Board particularly noted a letter from the Chair to the Mayor of the Municipality of Albert in the Somme region of France.  The letter thanked the Mayor for his hospitality in hosting a delegation of volunteer firefighters from Wonthaggi, Ferntree Gully, Montrose and Kalorama Mount Dandenong brigades, who travelled to France to attend a memorial for fallen soldiers including Wonthaggi foundation firefighter Mr John Sparks, who was killed in action near Albert on 18 August 1916.

It was a timely reminder of the many ways our volunteers have served the community for over 100 years.